While having any issues with the heart can be quite frightening, with today’s advancements in medical technology and medicine, it definitely does not have to be debilitating. HEALTH learns that we have the power to speed up our own recovery to enhance our well-being.
Understanding the Symptoms
More than one in three adults has some form of cardiovascular disease. The good news is 80 percent of heart disease and stroke can be prevented. By having a clear understanding of the risk factors involved and being aware of what signs to watch out for, Dr. Paul Thoppil, Interventional Cardiologist/ Electrophysiologist, at NMC Specialty Hospital Abu Dhabi explains that you are helping yourself avoid needless stress. “Common symptoms include chest pain or shortness of breath,” he says “if you feel something is wrong, it is important to schedule a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible to avoid any unnecessary complications. “
How to Choose Foods that Lower Cholesterol
- Avoid saturated or trans-fats. Foods containing high levels of saturated fats or trans fats-such as potato chips -can increase your cholesterol levels much more significantly than cholesterol- containing foods such as eggs. Saturated fat and trans fat both increase LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Tran’s fat lowers your levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol, which can put you at increased cardiovascular risk.
- Make smart choices. Choose foods rich in unsaturated fats, fiber, and protein. Fruits, vegetables, fish, beans, nuts, and seeds are all great cholesterol regulators. The best foods for lowering cholesterol are oatmeal, fish, walnuts (and other nuts), olive oil, and foods fortified with sterols or stanols-substances found in plants that help block the absorption of cholesterol.
- Remember that labels can be deceiving. Navigating food labels can often be complicated since packaged foods with labels like “cholesterol free” or “low cholesterol” aren’t necessarily heart-healthy; they might even contain cholesterol that’s heart-risky. Stick to basics whenever possible: fruit, vegetables, nuts, and lean proteins.
“Small steps taken every day can help you regain control of your heart health,” Dr. Thoppil explains. Some of these steps include:
Firstly, aim to be physically active for 20 to 30 minutes a day, even if it’s just going to a walk or run. If you find that too much, or you’re not used to being physically active, start with five minutes and gradually build it up by taking the stairs whenever you can.
- Remember, it is important to consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
- If you smoke, quit as soon as you can – it halves your risk of another heart attack. Talk to your doctor about getting help to quit and go to a smoking cessation clinic for advice.
- Taking control of your diet is one of the most important steps you will take to manage your heart health – avoid high cholesterol foods, which are a primary risk factor for heart disease.