How to prevent Sudden Cardiac Death due to Heart Attack in South East Asians or Indians?
September 15, 2019 by desiuser
Do you know what causes sudden cardiac death?
Here is the most important information to keep yourself healthy and prevent sudden heart attack.
I want to help as many people as possible by bringing awareness about this topic as heart disease is on the rise in young adults. After a lot of research, I came up with the following information which is very useful for each one of us to prevent from dying early suddenly.
Recently, lot of GoFundMe campaigns are being shared in social media to gather funds to help those who died suddenly to help their families. It is even more sad to see if it happens in someone’s family that we know.
A sudden cardiac death is the result of multiple things.
Let us first learn what are all the Risk factors for heart disease. The following are the most important.
Diabetes mellitus, type 1 and 2
Hypertension [High BP] BP >140/90 and those who use blood pressure medication
High Homocysteine levels
Family history of coronary disease at a young age in parents or sibling less than 55 years for men and younger than 65 years for women
Gender: Men have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than women at every age
Age: There is an increasing risk of cardiovascular disease with increasing age
Periodontal Health/dental health
Obstructive Sleep apnea especially if left untreated
Obesity: Asian Criteria for being obese is BMI [Body Mass Index] more than 25. For others, it is 30. So, we are supposed to be on thinner side than other individuals from a different culture.
Indians have small arteries in the heart and so heart disease is more common as other risk factors listed above are on the rise.
Check your Lipid Profile or Lipid Panel:
Lipids are normally found in your blood and are stored in tissues. They are important part of cells, and they help to keep our body working normally.
Lipids are one of the modifiable Risk Factors for reducing heart disease.
Lipid Panel/Profile includes:
High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) –GOOD cholesterol
Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) –BAD cholesterol
Lipoprotein a – These levels are not done routinely as part of lipid profile. It is Genetic. It is prone to oxidation resulting in atherosclerosis and also it increases clotting leading to heart attacks. It needs lifestyle modification as its levels do not change with medications.
Why do we check Lipid panel?
High cholesterol [=Hyperlipidemia or Dyslipidemia], may lead to life-threatening illnesses, such as coronary artery disease (CAD) and heart attack, or brain stroke.
High Triglycerides can cause Pancreatitis also.
When should you check Lipid Profile?
USPSTF [US Preventive Services Task Force] recommends the following:
at age 35 in men without other risk factors for coronary artery disease and
at age 20 to 35 in men with risk factors.
at age 45 in women and perhaps at age 20 in women with risk factors for coronary disease.
Precautions to take just before the Lipid Profile Blood work to get accurate Lipid profile results:
Do not eat high-fat foods the night before the test.
Do not drink alcohol or exercise strenuously before the test.
Do not eat or drink anything except water for 9 to 12 hours before having your blood drawn.
Medicines can be taken with water.
Lipid profile results and significance:
<200 mg/dL = normal
200 to 239 mg/dL = borderline high
>240 mg/dL = high
Normal = less than 150 mg/dL
Borderline high = 150 to 199 mg/dL
High = 200 to 499 mg/dL
Very high – greater than 500 mg/Dl
> 60 mg/dL = excellent, protects heart
< 40 mg/dL = high heart disease risk
<100 = Good
130-159 = Borderline
>160 = High
Typical South Asian Lipid Profile:
Lipoprotein a may be elevated-genetic risk factor for Premature vascular disease
LDL may be normal or elevated
Total cholesterol may be less than 200
Target levels of LDL for good heart health:
Without risk factors less than 130
With risk factors, DM less than 100
H/O stroke, heart attack or arterial disease less than 70
Target levels of HDL for good health:
Above 40 in male
Above 50 in females
Exercise and proper nutrition increase HDL levels
Why it is good to have High HDL, Low LDL and Low TG?
A reduction in HDL by 5mg /dL, decreases Heart Attacks by 25 %.
Lipid-lowering therapy with statin medications decreases Relative cardiovascular risk by 20 to 30 % regardless of baseline LDL.
The ratio of Total Cholesterol / HDL should be less than 5 in men and less than 4 in women for good health.
If LDL > 190, Your Doctor will start Medication [Statins] even if no other risk factors.
How to calculate your 10-year risk of heart disease or stroke?
Go to www.cvriskcalculator.com, You will see a calculator like this. Put your numbers after you visit your family doctor to get vitals and blood work done.
10-year risk of 7.5 or higher is bad.
This calculator will tell if you need to start taking medications
2. Statin or
3. Blood Pressure medication
Lipid lowering with diet or dietary supplements:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Fatty fish, especially salmon
Plant sources such as flaxseed and flaxseed oil, canola oil, soybean oil, and nuts.
- Lifestyle modifications: What can you do now to improve your health?
Lose weight if you are overweight or obese. Moderation in diet and some exercise can help. 80% of weight gain is from food and only 20% is from not doing exercise. Eat less food. 10kg weight loss can cause 5-20mm Hg reduction in Systolic Blood pressure.
Aerobic exercise. Exercise daily for a few minutes even though it is 15-20minutes.
Eating diets lower in saturated fats, Trans fats and Carbohydrates.
Do not smoke or inhale secondhand smoke.
Do not drink excessive alcohol.
We tend to accumulate fat in the belly which is dangerous. Do exercise, eat less and eat more leafy vegetables and try to reduce belly fat as soon as possible.
The clinical benefits from LDL-C reduction from lifestyle modification may be evident within 6 to 12 months.
Remember this picture from ChooseMyPlate.gov when you go to buffet party in your friend’s house next time. Always fill your plate with fruits and vegetables in one half of your plate.
High salt content can increase blood pressure. Avoid high salt Indian food like pickles, papadums, chutneys, restaurant food, Indian snacks, canned/packaged/preserved food etc. Not all have high salt. Start reading labels and check salt content.
Avoid white sugar as much as possible. Eating sugar causes TG, LDL [=Bad], & blood sugar to go up and HDL [Good] to go down. Dr. Popkin from University of North Carolina showed that link between heart disease and sugar is more than the link between heart disease and consumption of saturated fats.
Get dental checkups once or twice a year and floss daily as bad dental hygiene can cause heart diseases. Floss daily before sleep.
It does not matter whether you have good or bad genes. Diet is the Deciding factor that is purely in our control.
Talk to your family doctor if you want to start vigorous exercise program. It is not advised to start exercising vigorously suddenly. Start slow. If you get chest pain or shortness of breath or if you feel dizzy, stop exercising and talk to your family doctor or go to Emergency room.
Choosing the right oil is important. Oils with Monounsaturated fats are healthy and those with Trans Fats are the worst. The oils should have high smoke points and slower oxidation to be healthy. Avocado oil has high smoke point and has monounsaturated fats. Ghee or Clarified butter has anti oxidant/anti viral and high smoke point.
Fish oil has numerous uses like reducing depression, High BP, Diabetes, obesity, Arthritis, Cancer, and Inflammation. It increases Heart Health, Kidney Health, Immunity, Fertility, Brain health and Maternity health and keeps you younger.
Reduce your stress. Do not try to do too many things. Keep some idle time at which time you just sit and relax and do nothing. It’s ok to relax and rejuvenate.
Get yearly checkups from family doctor even though you feel perfectly fine. Get routine blood work to make sure everything is OK. Do not neglect this. If you have not seen a family doctor for more than a year, please make an appointment and see soon.
Keep yourself very relaxed mentally and physically. Don’t get worked up for simple things in life. Forgive others. Do not argue with spouse. This helps keep your body equilibrium and maintains good blood pressure and hormone levels.
Do not neglect warning signs of a health problem like dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath upon walking or going upstairs, palpitations, swelling in the ankles/legs, fainting, sweating for simple work etc. Seek medical attention when you experience any of these.
When you check your blood pressure any time, do not get panic. Just relax and re-check after a few minutes if it’s high. It will go down to baseline. This tells how important it is to relax whenever you can. If it continues to be high i.e. more than 140/90mm Hg, see your family doctor.
Give 12-16hrs gap between dinner and next day breakfast. This will help reduce insulin levels which prevents development of insulin resistance and thereby preventing/delaying Diabetes and its complications.
Drink one or two glasses of water before eating if you are obese or eating too much and cannot lose weight.
Sleep well. 7-8hrs of sleep is a must. Keep your bed only for sleeping and relaxing. Don’t work sitting on bed.
Take steps instead of elevator at work especially if your job requires you to sit all day long. Get up every hour and walk a few minutes before sitting again. This will improve circulation of blood.
Play well and Sleep well like a child. Be Healthy. Be Happy. Keep a smile on your face.
As you can see above, there are a lot of simple things one can do. A healthy body is the result of multiple things that were mentioned above. Taking care of health is an everyday business.
I do not recommend any special diets which require a lot of effort to do it consistent dieting. I also do not recommend any special drinks to detox the body.
When you are bored and have nothing better to do, just allot that time to get healthier.
Sugar is the most damaging food to us all. Even if we are not diabetic, we should avoid sugar in our food. Try to drink coffee without sugar. Try to avoid sweets. Try to avoid calorie dense food. Buy cereals with less sugar. Read the label. Avoid soda at any cost. If you have to drink, drink small amounts only.
Never smoke. Smoking causes a lot of medical issues that can cause death including heart attack, stroke, cancers, COPD [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease] etc.
If you notice swelling in one leg only and calf muscle is painful, get an ultrasound to see if there are blood clots. Untreated blood clots in the legs can cause Pulmonary Embolism which when untreated can cause death.
A simple way to eat healthy is to eat food in the form they are available in nature. Do not take refined food as much as possible. For example, instead of drinking fruit juices, eat fruits so that you get fiber with them. Fruit juices increase blood sugars quickly when consumed which is not good for health.
Protect yourself from getting COVID infection as much as possible. Don’t feel shy to wear a mask when you feel you will be with a lot of people in a closed room. If someone is coughing, move away at least by 6 feet. Don’t feel shy to keep yourself healthy.
Maintain correct weight. Check your BMI. If higher than 30, try to lose weight to bring your BMI as closer to 25 as possible.
More health to you.
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