World Heart Day is observed on September 29 every year with the aim of raising awareness about heart health and cardiovascular diseases and it serves as a reminder to everyone around the world to take care of their hearts. While timely intervention is needed to treat heart problems, experts say it’s important to focus on prevention and not just protection. “In a world filled with uncertainty and challenges, our hearts deserve more than just protection – they deserve prevention. Our hearts play a crucial role in our lives, and it is our utmost responsibility to take care of them proactively. This means making choices that keep our hearts healthy before any problems arise. We should no longer wait for warning signs but act ahead of time to protect our hearts in an ever-changing world. As we celebrate World Heart Day, it is time to change our approach,” shares Asit Rath, CEO & MD of Aviva India.
Taking care of your heart means not only the need for medical facilities but also having a strong financial plan in place. Asit Rath explores various financial strategies, lifestyle choices, and healthcare practices that empower individuals and communities to proactively enhance their heart health and overall well-being.
Prioritizing Financial Health For Heart Health
Undoubtedly, financial stability plays a pivotal role in managing heart health. According to Rath, “An alarming statistic reveals that at least 75% of Indians lack emergency funds, a concerning reality given the substantial costs associated with diagnosing, treating, and recovering from cardiovascular diseases.”
He says that to shift our approach toward prevention, it is imperative to adopt proactive financial measures, such as establishing an emergency fund and investing in suitable insurance plans. “This financial cushion can alleviate the burdens associated with unexpected health crises, reducing stress, and aiding recovery. Equally important is allocating resources to foster a healthier lifestyle, including gym memberships, nutritious dietary choices, and routine health checkups,” says Rath.
Lifestyle Choices For A Heart-Healthy Future
Lifestyle choices play an important role in heart health. “Prevention begins at home, within our daily choices that significantly impact heart health. A balanced diet, rich in essential nutrients, is fundamental for optimal heart function. A study by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute underscores the importance of adhering to healthy dietary patterns, revealing a 14% to 21% lower risk of cardiovascular disease among those who are most committed,” shares Rath.
He adds, “Physical activity is another linchpin of heart health. A sedentary lifestyle not only compromises cardiovascular health but also fosters conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and other heart disease risk factors. Regular exercise fortifies the heart muscle, improves circulation, and contributes to maintaining a healthy weight. It is not just about hitting the gym; even simple activities like walking, cycling, or dancing can yield significant benefits.”
Not just physical health, mental and emotional well-being have a direct impact on heart health. “Chronic stress, anxiety, and depression can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as overeating, smoking, or excessive alcohol consumption – all of which are detrimental to the heart. Learning to manage stress through relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and seeking support when needed can be instrumental in maintaining heart health,” shares Rath.
World Heart Day: Vital Role of Preventive Healthcare
Asit Rath points out preventive healthcare is more than a buzzword. “It is a proactive approach to safeguarding your most crucial organ: Your heart. When we think about healthcare, we often picture hospitals, doctors, and medications, but prevention plays a pivotal role in heart health. Prevention centres on identifying and addressing potential risks before they escalate into serious health issues. This approach takes centre stage in heart health because cardiovascular diseases often develop silently over time, without noticeable symptoms. By the time symptoms surface, the damage can be extensive. Taking the initiative to get tested is crucial,” he says.
Rath adds, “As we mark World Heart Day, remember that prevention is not an option; it is a necessity for your heart’s well-being. Shifting focus from protection to prevention may require commitment and lifestyle adjustments, but the benefits are immeasurable – a longer, healthier life with a robust, beating heart. By prioritising financial health, adopting heart-healthy lifestyles, and embracing preventive healthcare, you can take control of your heart’s future. It is time to ensure your heart keeps pumping at its peak, not just for today but for all your tomorrows.”