Take care of your heart health in 2021.

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Take care of your heart health in 2021.

Take care of your heart health in 2021.

Take care of your heart health in 2021.

It’s a good time to reflect on our lives in 2020 but it’s more important to plan for 2021. Focusing on our heart health we need to plan the steps we are going to take this year to keep our heart healthy.

To start with we need to remember that we can expect that COVID-19 is going to go away very soon and although there is a lot of hope for vaccines the truth is the change in social behavior and mask and social distancing will be an important aspect of our life in this year too.

"The resolve we need to make is to keep ourselves safe and healthy wherever we are.

The best motto for this year should be similar to the motto of  Stanford Medicine for their staff – be safe, be smart, be kind.

We have to keep ourselves safe through good public health measures like keeping away from crowds, regular handwashing, and mask-wearing. We have to be smart in a way to keep ourselves updated with new public guidelines and updates regarding COVID -19 vaccination and other data. Kindness is an overall stress buster. We need to remember that we all live in a community and we need to help others.

We also need to think beyond COVID-19 this year that’s about our overall health. Good health can not come with a quick fix, it’s a consistent and permanent change in lifestyle. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and relaxation are the three most important pillars of good cardiac health.

COVID -19 related uncertainty and anxiety has been with us since the start of 2020 and is not going to go away soon. Chronic stress and anxiety is not good for heart health. Anxiety releases certain hormones like adrenalin that increase the heart rate and the heart needs to work more which is detrimental to the heart in the long term.  Meditation, exercise, listening to music, conversing with family or friends, and in certain cases take professional help. One thing which is going to help is to get disconnected from devices from time to time – no mails, no phone calls, no social media. Spend time to do things which you enjoy doing.

Walking 30 minutes a day is good enough, important is consistency. Do not make elaborate plans as it may not be workable but start with a small and consistent change.

Dr. Rakesh Rai. MS, FRCS, MD, CCT, ASTS Fellow.