How young is your heart? Did you know that your heart beats about 1, 15,000 times a day? It is time you learnt to take good care of your heart and kept it in the best of health. “Data from multinational studies suggest that heart attacks occur almost a decade earlier in south Asians as compared to the western population. Therefore, genetic factors contribute to earlier occurrence of heart attacks in the Indian population. Sedentary lifestyle, stressful jobs, increased smoking habits, increased consumption of sugar sweetened beverages and fast food are some of the contributors.”Tobacco consumption is one of the most important contributors to heart problems at a young age and should be curbed as far as possible. Maintaining normal weight and BMI in a normal range is equally important.”

Cardiovascular diseases contribute to over 17.5 million worldwide deaths every year. Risk factors that may lead to heart disease and stroke include:

*Raised blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose  levels.

* Smoking.

* Inadequate intake of fruit and vegetables.

* Obesity.

This makes World Heart Day, held annually on September 29th, ever more important in raising awareness about the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.


The theme for this year’s World Heart Day is ‘My Heart, Your Heart’, which represents a promise to yourself, the people you care about and the individuals around the world to take steps in reducing our risk to CVD.  “What can I do right now to look after MY HEART… and YOUR HEART?” It also resonates with the professional cardiology and healthcare audiences who dedicate themselves to looking after ALL OUR HEARTS.


The main call to action for this year’s campaign is to make a promise. A promise as an individual to get more active, say no to smoking or eat more healthily … as a healthcare professional to save more lives, or as a policymaker to implement a non-communicable disease (NCD) action plan. A simple promise… for MY HEART, for YOUR HEART, for ALL OUR HEARTS.

World Heart Day was created to inform people around the globe that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading cause of death. Together with organizations such as WHO, the World Heart Federation spreads the news that at least 80 percent of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided if the main risk factors – which are tobacco, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity – are controlled.

In the early 2000s roughly 17 million people worldwide died from cardiovascular diseases annually. The majority of these deaths were the result of coronary heart disease or stroke. Although cardiovascular diseases are often considered to be afflictions of people living in developed countries, where sedentary lifestyle is common, more than 80 percent of deaths from these diseases occur in low- and middle-income developing countries. The primary causes of cardiovascular diseases—poor diet, lack of exercise, and smoking—are considered modifiable factors. Thus, even in developing countries, which often lack efficient health care programs, the majority of these diseases can be prevented. Cardiovascular diseases also have a major impact on economic systems within countries, because of the high health care costs associated with treatment and lost productivity associated with disability and absenteeism from work.

Make these lifestyle changes:

* Involve yourself in a simple to moderate physical activity regularly and eat fresh, home-cooked food instead of eating out.

* Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (aerated drinks, packed juices) should be minimized.

* Intake of fast food and processed foods should also be restricted up to 1-2 times a week.

* Increasing fruit and vegetable intake is inarguably helpful.

* A serving of nuts every day also improves cardiovascular health by providing essential minerals and fatty acids.

* Add whole grains to your meals. Add Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet twice a week through fatty fish, flaxseeds, soybeans and walnuts and Drink at least 2-3 liters of water in a day.

* Reduce the sodium content (salt) in your diet

* Get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep every day.

* Don’t sit for very long at one time.

* In order to keep heart diseases at bay, u need to exercise and move. Be it through yoga, exercise, dancing, brisk walking and cycling.

Jeelani Saima Habeeb can be reached at