Experts offer clues on how to avoid heart diseases


By Benprince Ezeh

THE heart is a very important part of the human body and according to some experts,  the risk of developing heart diseases begins to increase around the ages of 45 in men and 55 in women. But younger people can develop heart diseases.

“You may be young at heart, but I encourage people in their early 20s to take ownership of this amazing pump that powers our body. That means you need to put the right fuel in it, take it out regularly for a spin, and get it road-tested every few years,” says William Tansey, MD, a cardiologist at Summit Medical Group, United States of America.

Heart disease still remains the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States, but less in Africa. But many cases of heart disease are preventable or even reversible with the right lifestyle choices.

Felicita Ogbu
Felicita Ogbu

, a doctor said that the two most important risk factors for developing heart diseases are high cholesterol and smoking. “When you have too much cholesterol, plaque begins to grow in the arteries and can prevent the blood from flowing freely to the rest of the body. This condition, called atherosclerosis, is the main cause of heart attack and stroke.

“You can lower your cholesterol by eating a heart-healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, fibre-rich whole grains, and lean proteins. Avoid processed foods and baked goods that are filled with added salt, fat, cholesterol, and sugar.

“Evidence has emerged that children as young as 13 can start building up plaque in the arteries if they are on the wrong diet. “The cardiac diet used to emphasize avoiding high-fat foods like red meat and butter, but today we are increasingly more concerned about reducing carbs, such as bread, pasta, and potatoes,” she said.

According to her, Lighting up is responsible for 30 percent of all incidences of heart disease and stroke. “Cigarettes increase your blood pressure, reduce your immunity, and raise the risk of developing blood clots. It’s never too late to quit. In only one year, kicking the habit can cut your risk of a heart attack by half,” Ogbu said.

Speaking on how to take of the heart, Dr. Emmanuel Enang, Cardiologist, said that staying seated for long periods of time is bad for your health no matter how much exercise you do.

Emmanuel Enang
Emmanuel Enang

“This is bad news for many people, who do sedentary jobs and seat all day. When looking at the combined results of several observational studies that included nearly 800,000 people, researchers found that in those who sat the most, there was an associated 147 per cent increase in cardiovascular events and a 90 per cent increase in death caused by these events. In addition, sitting for long periods of time (especially when travelling) increases your risk of deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot).

“Due to this, it’s important to move throughout the day. Park farther away from the office, take a few shorter walks throughout the day and/or use a standing work station so you can move up and down. And remember to exercise on most days,” Enang advised.

On his path, Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwu, another cardiologist explained that the most important way of caring for the heart is constant exercise and less drinking of alcohol. “Remember, everything in moderation. Alcohol can lead to weight gain, increase your blood pressure and excite irregular heart rhythms, which are three important considerations for heart disease. Moderate drinking is defined as no more than one drink per day for women and two for men.

“Get moving for 30 minutes a day, five times a week. Choose an aerobic exercise you enjoy such as walking, swimming and playing sports. If you get bored, switch up your workout routine and always remember to warm up and stretch before you exercise,” Chukwu said.

– May 29, 2020 @ 18:55 GMT /

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