New Delhi: It's a good time to pay attention to your heart - for September 29 is World Heart Day. Heart diseases currently are the leading cause of death - especially in urban and rural India. It is also estimated that by 2020, India will have the largest cardiovascular burden globally, accounting for almost one-third deaths.
It is estimated that Indians are nearly four times more susceptible to heart attacks than Caucasians, with 25 per cent of attacks happening to people under the age of 40 - unheard of in other populations.
Indians are also genetically predisposed to heart disease but experts say it is lifestyle issues that are the real problem.
On World Heart Day, Shalini gets you five important heart tips that will help you keep heart disease at bay.
Spend less time in front of TV: A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that people who spent more than two hours day on screen-based entertainment, had a 125 per cent increase in risk of heart attacks.
Avoid high fructose foods, unlikely culprits: HFCs or High-fructose corn syrup, also known as corn sugar, is the most common added sweetener in processed foods and beverages. Although it is chemically similar to table sugar or sucrose, some studies have linked it to increased triglyceride levels, which can boost your heart attack risk.
Give up smoking: Smoking damages the lining of your arteries, and makes it narrower. The carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood making the heart pump harder to supply the oxygen.
Get enough sleep: According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, too little sleep can promote calcium buildup in the heart arteries, leading to the plaques that can then break apart and cause heart attacks and strokes.
Get some exercise: The American Journal of Medicine and the British Heart Foundation second that exercising just for half an hour every day, cuts down your chances of dying of a heart attack by 60 per cent.