Maintaining our heart health is of utmost importance. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Cardiovascular Deaths (CVDs) have become a leading cause of death worldwide. The WHO reports suggest an estimated 17.9 million people died from CVDs in 2019, accounting for 32% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 85% were due to heart attack and stroke, as per the global health organisation.
It is important to know whether your heart is struggling or is in good shape, so that you can take measures to prevent heart problems or maintain cardiovascular health, respectively. Speaking with the OnlyMyHealth editorial team, Dr Talha Meeran, Consultant-Advanced Cardiac Sciences and Heart Transplant, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai, discusses some of the signs of a healthy heart.
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How To Know If Your Heart Is Healthy
Dr Meeran said, “A healthy heart is essential for overall well-being, and being aware of common indicators and undergoing regular heart screenings can help detect any irregularities early on.” Some of the determinators include:
Normal blood pressure levels
It is important to maintain a normal blood pressure level, which should ideally be below 130/80 mmHg, the doctor said. High blood pressure is when readings consistently range from 120-129 systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Low blood pressure is when measurements read less than 90/60mmHg.
Normal heart rate
As per the doctor, a healthy heart also exhibits a normal heart rate at rest, typically between 60-90 beats per minute.
Normal cholesterol level
Lastly, having a normal cholesterol level, with low levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and high levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, is crucial for heart health.
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Important Heart Screenings To Take
To detect any irregularities in the heart, undergoing regular heart screenings is essential, Dr Meeran said.
“One of the most common screenings is an Electro- Cardiogram (ECG or EKG), which measures the electrical activity of the heart and can identify any abnormal rhythms or damage. Another valuable screening is an echocardiogram, which can help identify any structural abnormalities of the heart muscle or valve issues,” he shared.
“For individuals at higher-risk of heart disease, stress tests may be recommended. These involve monitoring the heart's response to exercise or medication-induced stress to evaluate its performance under increased demand. Certain higher-risk individuals may also benefit from CT scan screening of the heart for calcium and plaque buildup,” the doctor added.
In addition, the doctor recommends getting one’s lipid profiles, which measure cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. This can help assess the risk of developing heart disease, he said.
The doctor emphasises the need for early detection, calling it key to addressing heart irregularities. In case you experience any symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or palpitations, it's important to consult a healthcare professional at the earliest. By staying vigilant and undergoing regular heart screenings, you can take proactive steps towards maintaining a healthy heart and preventing serious cardiovascular conditions, the doctor concluded.