Q: What are the rules-of-thumb for a regular person to take care of his or her heart?
A: 1. Diet - Less of carbohydrate, more of protein, less oil. 2. Exercise - Half an hour's walk, at least five days a week, avoiding lifts and being sedentary for long periods. 3. Quit smoking. 4. Keep body weight under control. 5. Keep blood pressure and blood sugar levels under control.
Q: It’s still shocking to hear of a perfectly healthy individual going into cardiac arrest. How do we put this into perspective?
A: This is called a silent attack. It’s the reason why everyone over the age of 30 should undergo routine health check-ups.
Q: Are heart diseases hereditary?
Q: Is walking better than jogging, or is more intensive exercise required to maintain a healthy heart?
A: It’s preferable to walk regularly rather than jog, because you’re still making your heart work without putting unnecessary strain on your leg joints.
Q: You have done so much for the poor and needy. Who or what inspired you to do so?
A: Mother Teresa, who was my patient.
Q: Can people with low blood pressure suffer from heart disease?
A: It’s extremely rare for them to do so.
Q: Does cholesterol accumulate right from an early age (I'm currently only 22) or do you have to worry about it only after you are above 30 years of age?
A: Cholesterol accumulates from childhood.
Q: How do irregular eating habits affect the heart?
A: Excess salt from junk food can lead to high blood pressure and diabetes. Excess fat can lead to hypercholesterolemia, along with various other consequences.
Q: How can I control cholesterol content without using medicines?
A: Control your diet, walk and eat walnuts.
Q: Can yoga prevent heart ailments?
A: Yoga certainly helps with that.
Q: Which is the best and worst food for the heart?
A: Fruit and vegetables are the best, and the worst is oil.
Q: Which oil is better - groundnut, sunflower, olive?
A: All oils are bad.
Q: What is the routine check-up one should go through? Is there any specific test?
A: Routine blood test to ensure sugar and cholesterol levels are okay. Check BP, Treadmill test after an echo.
Q: What is the main cause of the steep increase in heart problems observed in young people? I see people aged between 30 and 40 having heart attacks and serious heart problems.
Q: What are the first aid steps to be taken when someone is having a heart attack?
A: Help the person into a sleeping position, take an aspirin with a sorbitrate tablet if available, and rush him to a coronary care unit since the maximum physical damage usually takes place within the first hour.
Q: How do you differentiate between pain caused by a heart attack and that caused by gastric trouble?
A: This is extremely difficult to do unless an ECG scan is undertaken.
A: Sedentary lifestyles, smoking, junk food and a lack of exercise. Not to mention that Indian people are genetically three times more vulnerable to heart attacks than Europeans and Americans.
Q: Is it possible for a person to have blood pressure outside the normal range of 120/80 and yet be perfectly healthy?
Q: Intermarriage between closely-related family members can lead to heart problems for the child. Is it true?
A: Yes, consanguinity can lead to congenital abnormalities.
Q: Many of us have an irregular daily routine and, many times, we have to stay late at the office. Does this affect our heart? What precautions would you recommend?
A: When you are young, nature protects you against all these irregularities. However, as you grow older, you should pay more respect to your biological clock.
Q: Will taking anti-hypertensive drugs cause some other complications (short/long term)?
A: Yes, most drugs have some side effects. However, modern anti-hypertensive drugs are extremely safe.
Q: Will consuming more coffee/tea lead to heart attacks?
Q: Are asthma patients more prone to heart disease?
Q: How would you define junk food?
A: Fried food like Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald's, samosas, and even masala dosas.
Q: Does consuming bananas help reduce hypertension?
Q: Can a person help himself during a heart attack (Because we see a lot of forwarded emails on this)?
A: Yes. Lie down comfortably and put an aspirin tablet of any description under the tongue. Ask someone to take you to the nearest coronary care unit without any delay and do not wait for an ambulance to turn up.
Q: Do low white blood cells and a low hemoglobin count lead to heart problems?
A: No. But it is ideal to have normal hemoglobin levels to increase your exercise capacity.
Q: Sometimes, due to our hectic schedules, 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?
A: 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: Is there a relationship between heart problems and blood sugar?
A: Yes. A strong one. Diabetics are more vulnerable to heart attacks than non-diabetics.
Q: What are the things one needs to take care of after a heart operation?
A: Diet, exercise, take prescribed medication when you’re supposed to, keep cholesterol under control, regulate blood pressure and keep weight down.
Q: Are people working on night shifts more vulnerable to heart disease when compared to day shift workers?
Q: What are the modern anti-hypertensive drugs?
A: There are hundreds of drugs and your doctor will choose 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, diet to reduce weight and changing attitudes and lifestyles.
Q: Do aspirin or similar headache pills increase the risk of heart attacks?
Q: How can one keep the heart in good condition?
A: Eat a healthy diet, avoid junk food, exercise every day, do not smoke and go for health check-ups if you are past the age of 30 (once in six months is recommended).