- Real Estate
- Paris Flash
“Who would not give a trifle to prevent what he would give a thousand worlds to cure?“
Every 30 to 40 seconds, heart disease kills one person in the United States. In addition to this, the American Heart Association has projected that throughout the next 20 years there will be 16.6% increase in prevalence of coronary heart disease and that the direct medical costs attributed to cardiovascular disease will triple.
So the questions we need to ask are:
The power to prevent the progression of this disease lies within us. We can prevent heart disease from progressing and can reverse its effects by making positive adjustments in our lifestyles and in the lifestyle habits of our children.
A number of studies including a study from Mayo Clinic has reported that 80% of heart disease is preventable and reversible.
Nowadays in our society, it is normal to have atherosclerosis and die from cardiovascular disease but the thought of reversing cardiovascular disease is unheard of.
If we continue to have standard Western diet and lifestyle we will certainly develop heart disease at some point and die from it.
But, everyone deserves to know that heart disease can be avoided and those who already have heart disease deserve to know that they can reverse their disease.
There is a significant amount of good quality evidence that shows that eating, drinking, exercise and good sleep habits formed during early childhood can continue for many years in adulthood while unhealthy lifestyle habits left unchecked in early childhood can relate to heart diseases in adulthood.
1. The habit of eating and drinking:
Eating high levels of salt in early childhood has been linked with increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke in adulthood. The recommended daily doses of salt for children belonging to different age groups are mentioned below.
For example: A happy meal that consists of a hamburger, a coke and small fries contains 1.8 g of salt which is over half the recommended daily limit for a 5 year old.
You should also limit the amount of saturated fat and sugar in your child’s diet. Too much saturated fat and sugar in your child’s diet can lead to high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and tooth decay in later life.
Pre-packaged, ready-to-eat foods and fast foods often contain high levels of salt, sugar and saturated fat.
You should always check the label of any foods you give your children to keep their salt, sugar and saturated fat intake under check. Children should not be encouraged to have: crisps, biscuits, ice-cream, fizzy drinks, sweets, chocolates, fast foods like burgers, chicken nuggets, processed foods such as microwave meals, hot dogs and breakfast cereals.
According to statistics most children start smoking at the age of 13. Smoking is a very high risk factor for the development of heart disease in later life. Kids need to be educated about the hazards of smoking before they hit their teens.
2. The habit of exercising:
Children who spend time doing pastimes like watching television and computer games do not usually get the exercise they need. Try to involve your children in team sports like football, basketball, volleyball or other fun activities like hiking, swimming, dance or just cycling to school.
It is recommended that children under five years of age who can walk unaided should be physically active doing indoor or outdoor activities for three hours through out the day.
Children and young people (5-18 years) should do at least 60 minutes of aerobic activity every day.
This amount of exercise is enough to strengthen bones and muscles and can help prevent children putting on weight that in turn leads to other heart disease related risk factors.
3. The habit of good sleep:
Sleep is a necessity like food and water. It is not a luxury. You need to know what kind of sleep your child is getting.
When you fall asleep your body goes into a state called NREM (Non Rapid Eye Movement). 75% of your sleep time is spent in this state. Your breathing slows down. The other 25% of sleep time is spent in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) during which dreams occur. In REM sleep breathing becomes more rapid, irregular and shallow.
School going Children are required to get between (9 to 11 hours) of sleep every day. Treating sleep problems may improve heart health. Researchers have linked lack of sleep to irregular heart rhythms, atherosclerosis, obesity and diabetes.
For the future of our children, it is vital for parents and guardians to take charge now and make these healthy lifestyle changes so that our little ones will not suffer from the deadliest disease in the world.
Yes, we do have the power to stop the progression of heart disease.
Contributed by Ayesha Shafiq, eParisExtra
Ayesha Shafiq is the Director of Paris Cardiology Center, now in her eleventh year. She is the wife of Khalid Shafiq, M.D. and mother of their 2 children. She holds a Masters Degree in International Relations. Shafiq runs management with the help of 22 employees.