Posted by TheMedGuru News... on August 11, 2009
Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty (heart specialist) from Narayana Hrudayalaya, Bangalore discusses matters of the heart for themedguru readers.

Q - 2: Is eating non-veg food (fish) good for the heart?
Dr. Shetty No.

Q - 3: It's still a grave shock to hear that an apparently healthy person underwent a cardiac arrest. How do we understand it in perspective?
Dr. Shetty This is called silent attack; that is why we recommend everyone past the age of 30 to undergo routine health checkups.

Q - 4: Are heart diseases hereditary?
Dr. Shetty Yes.

Q - 5: What are the ways in which the heart is stressed? What practices do you suggest to de-stress?
Dr. Shetty Change your attitude towards life. Do not look for perfection in everything in life.

Q – 6: Is walking better than jogging or is more intensive exercise required to keep a healthy heart?
Dr. Shetty Walking is better than jogging since jogging leads to early fatigue and injury to joints .

Q - 7: Why is the rate of heart attacks more in men than in women?
Dr. Shetty Nature protects women till the age of 45.

Q - 8: Can people with low blood pressure suffer heart diseases?
Dr. Shetty Extremely rare.

Q - 9: Does cholesterol accumulates right from an early age? I'm currently only 22. Do I have to worry about it only after I am above 30 years of age?
Dr. Shetty Cholesterol accumulates from childhood.

Q -10: How do irregular eating habits affect the heart?
Dr. Shetty You tend to eat junk food when the habits are irregular and your body's enzyme release for digestion gets confused.

Q - 11: How can I control cholesterol content without using medicines?
Dr. Shetty Control diet, walk and eat walnut.

Q - 12: Can yoga prevent heart ailments?
Dr. Shetty Yoga helps.

Q - 13: Which is the best and worst food for the heart?
Dr. Shetty Fruits and vegetables are the best and the worst is oil.

Q - 14: Which oil is better - groundnut, sunflower, olive?
Dr. Shetty All oils are bad.

Q - 15: What is the routine checkup one should go through? Is there any specific test?
Dr. Shetty Routine blood test to ensure sugar, cholesterol is ok.

Q - 16: What are the first aid steps in case of a heart attack?
Dr. Shetty Help the person into a sleeping position, place an aspirin tablet under the tongue with a sorbitrate tablet if available, and rush him to a coronary care unit since the maximum casualty takes place within the first hour.

Q – 17: How do you differentiate between pain caused by a heart attack and that caused due to gastric trouble?
Dr. Shetty Extremely difficult without ECG.

Q - 18: People of about 30-40 years of age are having heart attacks and serious heart problems. What is the main cause of a steep increase in heart problems amongst youngsters?
Dr. Shetty Increased awareness has increased incidents that are reported. The causes for this increase are sedentary lifestyles, smoking, junk food, lack of exercise in a country where people are genetically three times more vulnerable for heart attacks than Europeans and Americans.

Q - 19: Is it possible for a person to have BP outside the normal range of 120/80 and yet be perfectly healthy?
Dr. Shetty Yes.

Q - 20:Marriages within close relatives can lead to heart problems for the child. Is it true?
Dr. Shetty Yes, co-sanguinity leads to congenital abnormalities.

Q - 21: Many of us have an irregular daily routine and many a times we have to stay late nights in office. Does this affect our heart? What precautions would you recommend?
Dr. Shetty When you are young, nature protects you against all these irregularities. However, as you grow older, respect the biological clock.

Q - 22: Will taking anti-hypertensive drugs cause some other complications (short/long term)?
Dr. Shetty Yes, most drugs have some side effects. However, modern anti-hypertensive drugs are extremely safe.

Q -23: Will consuming more coffee/tea lead to heart attacks?
Dr. Shetty No.

Q - 24: Are asthma patients more prone to heart disease?
Dr. Shetty No.

Q - 25: How would you define junk food?
Dr. Shetty Fried food like Kentucky, McDonalds, samosas, and even masala dosas.

Q - 26: You mentioned that Indians are three times more vulnerable. What is the reason for this, as Europeans and Americans also eat a lot of junk food?
Dr. Shetty Every race is vulnerable to some disease and unfortunately, Indians are vulnerable for the most expensive disease.

Q - 27: Does consuming bananas help reduce hypertension?
Dr. Shetty No.

Q - 28: Can a person help himself during a heart attack (Because we see a lot of forwarded emails on this)?
Dr. Shetty Yes. Lie down comfortably and put an aspirin tablet of any description under the tongue and ask someone to take you to the nearest coronary care unit without any delay and do not wait for the ambulance since most of the time, the ambulance does not turn up.

Q - 29: Do low white blood cells and low hemoglobin count, in any way, lead to heart problems?
Dr. Shetty No. But it is ideal to have normal hemoglobin level to increase your exercise capacity.

Q - 30: Sometimes, due to the hectic schedule we are not able to exercise. So, does walking while doing daily chores at home or climbing the stairs in the house, work as a substitute for exercise?
Dr. Shetty Certainly. Avoid sitting continuously for more than half an hour and even the act of getting out of the chair and going to another chair and sitting helps a lot.

Q - 31: Is there a relation between heart problems and blood sugar?
Dr. Shetty Yes. A strong relationship, since diabetics are more vulnerable to heart attacks than non-diabetics.

Q - 32: What are the things one needs to take care of after a heart operation?
Dr. Shetty Diet, exercise, drugs on time, and control cholesterol, BP and weight.

Q - 33: Are people working on night shifts more vulnerable to heart disease when compared to day shift workers?
Dr. Shetty No.

Q - 34: What are the modern anti-hypertensive drugs?
Dr. Shetty There are hundreds of drugs and your doctor will chose the right combination for your problem, but my suggestion is to avoid the drugs and go for natural ways of controlling blood pressure by walking, dieting to reduce weight and changing attitudes towards lifestyles.

Q - 35: Does disprin or similar headache pills increase the risk of heart attacks?
Dr. Shetty No.

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