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Cholesterol and Heart Health: What You Need to Know

Cholesterol and Heart Health: What You Need to Know

Heart disease is a significant health concern in India, responsible for many deaths each year. Several factors contribute to heart disease, including genetics, lifestyle choices, and age. However, high cholesterol levels play a crucial role in the development of cardiovascular disease.

Now, let's explore some relevant statistics related to cholesterol and heart disease in India:

  • According to a study by the Indian Council of Medical Research, nearly one-fourth of urban Indians have unhealthy cholesterol levels, significantly increasing their risk of heart disease.

  • High cholesterol levels can triple the risk of heart disease in Indians compared to other populations worldwide, primarily due to genetic factors and dietary choices.

High blood cholesterol

  • The prevalence of unhealthy cholesterol levels is higher in India due to the widespread consumption of high-fat diets and sedentary lifestyles associated with urbanization.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is necessary for various bodily functions. When cholesterol levels exceed healthy limits, it can lead to the accumulation of plaque in the arteries. This ultimately increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Here are some measures to ensure heart health.

Heart-healthy diet:

  • Take traditional Indian meals, low in saturated and trans fats, such as lentils, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and omega-3-rich foods like fatty fish and flaxseeds.

  • Limit the consumption of processed and fried foods that contain high amounts of unhealthy fats.

Bakery items

  • Avoid bakery items.

  • Avoid eating out and consume home-cooked meals as much as possible

Encourage physical activity:

  • Practice yoga or any other physical activity regularly for physical fitness and stress management, which helps maintain heart health.

  • Take regular breaks during the workday, and move around, like stretching exercises or short walks, to combat a sedentary lifestyle.

  • Traditional Indian exercises like Surya Namaskar, a sequence of yoga asanas provide a holistic workout and improve cardiovascular fitness.

Woman doing Surya Namaskar

  • Get heart health screenings and attend awareness programs.

  • Get periodic health checks with cholesterol screening.

  • Have awareness about cholesterol management, signs and symptoms of heart disease, and preventive measures.

Cholesterol screening:

The lipid profile test includes tests like Triglycerides, LDL (bad cholesterol), HDL (good cholesterol), and Total cholesterol. By checking the report, the doctor can guide you with the best steps for ensuring/maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol screening

By taking heart health measures like a healthy diet, and practicing traditional exercise forms, one can make a notable impact on the cardiovascular well-being of themselves, their family, and society.

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Dr Lavanya Aribandi is the current Chief Medical Officer at ekincare. With 20+ years of experience in Internal Medicine, she is MBBS & MD certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.