Dr Narayan Gadkar, consultant cardiologist from Zen Multispecialty Hospital says, “You will be shocked to know that working at least 55 hours per week is linked to a higher risk of both ischemic heart disease and stroke when compared to those people who work for around 35-40 hours a week.
Working long hours can increase mortality and morbidity from ischemic heart disease and stroke via psychosocial stress.”
With the lockdown slowly being lifted and people started to going to work in offices is another reason for longer work hours. Some are working for more than 14 to 15 hours a day, are always glued to chairs in offices or at home and fail to get that much-needed break. Dr Bipeenchandra Bhamre, cardiovascular surgeon, Sir H N Reliance Hospital and Lilavati hospital, says, “All this should be a strict no-no as doing so can take a toll on your heart. We are not kidding here. Working for longer hours invites various health risks along with heart problems. The people who already have risk factors like hypertension and diabetes and high cholesterol, may develop ischemic heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and heart rhythm problems owing to extended working hours.”
Dr. Anup Taksande, consultant interventional cardiologist, Wockhardt Hospital, Mira Road says, “People with hypertension and diabetes and high cholesterol are at a higher risk of developing ischemic heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and heart rhythm problems because of erratic and long working hours. It is the need of the hour to keep heart disease at bay and adhere to a healthy lifestyle.”
However, all doctors don’t feel the same way. Dr Tilak Suvarna, senior interventional cardiologist, Asian Heart Institute says, “Working from home on the other hand has made it possible for people to spend time with family and has cut down on travel duration especially in cities. Therefore it won’t be correct to say that long working hours due to work from home is causing heart disease. It will require a long term observational study to establish the side effects of work from home on the heart and overall health.”
He adds, “There are several other factors such as mental stress associated with unemployment, fear associated with Covid infection, reduced physical activity due to lockdown that can increase the long term risk of heart disease during the covid pandemic.”
DOCTORS SHARE SOME HEART-FRIENDLY TIPS THAT YOU NEED TO FOLLOW…
· Don’t ignore check-ups and telemedicine
In these times, staying in touch with your doctor through video consultation or calls or even whatsapp is needed. Regular check-ups are essential. Make use of technology to avoid delays if you have any health issues.
· Manage your cholesterol levels
Do not eat processed or deep-fried foods that can lead to abnormal cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is one of the potential causes of heart disease. Hence, it is the need of the hour to check on your cholesterol levels.
· Stick to a schedule
You will have to follow a proper routine, every day. Slot time for your exercise. Stick to your diet chart. Maintain a good sleep routine of seven to eight hours a day. Try to take out some time for yourself.
· Stay physically active
This is super essential! Just walking for 40 minutes every day has shown to improve heart health. So if you can swim or run or do bicycling it’s great for your heart. If you are already a heart patient then don’t go overboard while exercising. Just keep moving at home, maybe walking or even doing aerobics in order to increase blood circulation. Do it after speaking to the doctor.
· Take medication as prescribed by your doctor
If you are on high blood pressure medications or diabetes medications take it on time. Don’t miss your doses.
REMEMBER TO CHOOSE HEART-FRIENDLY FOODS
Opt for foods that enhance your immunity, say doctors. Eat a well-balanced diet that includes all the essential nutrients and minerals. Have foods with a lot of green vegetables and fruits, for non-vegetarians once in a week chicken and fish is fine. Food like walnuts, beans, flax seeds, avocado, berries, nuts, carrots, sweet potatoes, capsicum, spinach, asparagus, tomatoes, broccoli, oranges, nuts, and papaya are great. Avoid eating spicy, oily, canned, salty, and sugary foods that have artificial sweeteners and a lot of salt. Eliminate carbonated drinks from the diet. Reduce alcohol consumption and quit smoking or using tobacco in any form, as doing so can take a toll on your heart.
FACTORS BEHIND HEART DISEASE:
- Increased stress
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Lack of physical activity
- Poor eating habits
- Working for long hours
- Not getting enough sleep
- Smoking, drinking, eating unhealthy