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Healthy Heart: Busting The Myths Related To Food After Heart Surgery

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 85% of all CVD deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are disorders of the heart and blood vessels and include coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatic heart disease and other conditions. Heart problems are on the rise, owing to the risk factors for developing heart disease like high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol, stress, faulty eating habits, and following a sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise. Most of these factors are controllable. Yes, we can choose to avoid problems related to lifestyles. Food is the most important aspect in all societies.

After undergoing heart surgery, your doctor will advise you to opt for a healthy, and a well-balanced diet. This is so because, adhering to healthy eating habits is crucial to your recovery, and to help you protect your heart against further problems. You need to eat well so that your incisions heal well. You should eat homemade food to avoid infections in first few months after surgery.

Most of the people should understand that our Indian homemade food habits are good enough except a few things that we must avoid. I do not advice our patients' drastic changes in their food habits after surgery as then they don't eat because they don't like the food as it becomes tasteless. You require to eat certain portions of food to recover from surgery to heal your incisions. Some food you must totally avoid but there are certain myths, which can be bothersome.
Dr. Bipeenchandra Bhamre helps us clear our misconceptions regarding the diet after heart surgery:

Myth: Eating certain 'super foods' will help you keep heart diseases at bay.
Fact: There is no super food. Yes, you have heard it right! Though, foods like blueberries, pomegranates, walnuts, and fish are good for your ticker. But, they will not prevent you from developing heart disease. Certain diets can, however, help you do so. According to tons of studies, the Mediterranean diet, which consists of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit, and monounsaturated fats like olive oil, once in a week fish and or Poultry chicken, has shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. One must avoid eating red meat as it contains loads of cholesterol.


Myth:Fats are not good for you.
Fact: Our body requires cholesterol in certain amount everyday as most of our hormones are made up from cholesterol. Our brain and some muscles require cholesterol as fuel. So, we need cholesterol or fat but the quality and quantity is important. Qualitatively, you must avoid fast food artificially made fats, some of the baked food, and processed food. Not only this, even high sugar foods like soft drinks etc. have also shown to be bad for heart. Saturated fats, which are derived from animal products like red meat and butter, also tend to raise one's LDL levels. Whereas, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats may lower your LDL levels when used in place of saturated fats. This simply means that eating unprocessed food or natural food will not rise your cholesterol levels. Our daily need for fats should be kept 10% of our energy need, which roughly comes about 30-35gms per day.

Myth: Salt is not dangerous as it is a natural product.
Fact: Excess salt is more dangerous than fats and sugar. It not only rises your blood pressure but also puts lots of load on your kidneys. You must be aware that salt is naturally found in most of the food items, which we opt for. We should not add salt. But, when speaking about processed foods, the amount of salt is often above naturally occurring levels. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure due to the extra water stored in the body. High blood pressure can put a strain on your heart, arteries, kidneys, and brain. Moreover, it can also increase your risk of heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease. Thus, you must monitor your salt consumption, and eat foods, which contain less amount of salt. Also, speak to your expert regarding the amount of salt you should eat per day, as going overboard is a strict no-no.

Take-away message: Eat well, sleep well and exercise well after open heart surgery. Avoid oily fried junk foods. Control the quantity of food. The quantity of food is also important as the quality of food. Do not fall prey to fad diets. Our Indian eating habits are reasonably satisfactory. Try to eat homemade food all the time while recovering from surgery. Restrict your fat and salt intake. Likewise, cut down on alcohol and quit smoking and follow healthy habits to keep your ticker in top shape, and stay hale and hearty!

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Don't Blame Your Genes for High Cholesterol

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Genetic mutations that can be blamed for unusually high cholesterol are far rarer than previously thought, existing in only about two percent of the population, researchers said on Sunday. Previous studies have suggested that as many as 25 percent of people with very high cholesterol - defined as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels of 190 mg/dl or higher - could blame their condition on their genes. LDL is widely known as "bad cholesterol" because it leads to buildup of harmful plaque in the arteries.

"Many clinicians assume that patients with LDL above 190 have a familial hypercholesterolemia mutation as the major driver," said Amit Khera, a cardiology fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and lead author of the findings presented at the American College of Cardiology conference in Chicago.

"But there are a lot of other causes that can lead to this very high LDL, such as poor diet, lack of exercise and a variety of common genetic variants that each have a small impact on cholesterol but can add up to a big impact when they occur together."

To perform the study, researchers compiled the largest gene sequencing analysis to date based on people with very high cholesterol, including more than 26,000 people.

There are three different known mutations that can lead to a diagnosis of familial hypercholesterolemia. Only two percent of individuals had mutations in any of the three known familial hypercholesterolemia genes.

Even though there were relatively few of these people, their risk for developing life-threatening plaque buildup in the heart's arteries by their 50s or 60s was extraordinarily high - 22 times higher than people with average cholesterol levels (LDL below 130 mg/dL), said the study.

"Our findings suggest that if you performed widespread genetic screening of all individuals with very high LDL cholesterol, your yield would likely be low, but for the people who do have the mutations, the results could be quite meaningful," said Khera.

"This knowledge would be relevant not only to people with familial hypercholesterolemia mutations but to their relatives as well."

For those without the inherited gene mutations, but who still had very high cholesterol, their risk of early-onset coronary artery disease was six times higher than people with LDL below 130. Researchers estimated that 412,000 of about 14 million adult Americans with an untreated LDL of 190 or higher have a familial hypercholesterolemia mutation.

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Common Fruits fulfill nutrition needs of your body

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