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Tackling heart diseases... through changing lifestyle

"Fill one's mind with positive thoughts, emotions, attitudes and happy memories; adopt a low-fat and fibre-rich diet; go for brisk morning walk at sunrise and an evening stroll just before sunset."



Dr. Satish Gupta.

Breakthrough inventions in medical technologies may have revolutionised advanced cardiac care. But expensive, high-end technology is not exactly what an impoverished nation like India, which has an adult population of over 15 per cent with coronary artery diseases (CAD), requires, says Satish Gupta.

"CAD has been growing in epidemic proportions and instead of opting for interventions like by-pass angioplasty, which a lot of people cannot afford, people should be encouraged to adopt a holistic and healthy lifestyle that can actually help in the reversal of CAD," Dr. Gupta says.

Research on CAD

A senior consultant in cardiology at the JWM Global Hospital and Research Centre, run by the Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya at Mount Abu, Dr. Gupta has been engaged in a CAD Regression project since 1995. The multi-disciplinary project, in collaboration with the Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is sponsored by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

"In the last eight years, we have systematically followed up some 1,200 patients who were inducted into the CAD Regression project and encouraged to follow the Holistic and Healthy Lifestyle programme that we have formulated. Repeat angiographies done of these patients have shown a highly significant regression of coronary blockages, with even some of the calcified blockages having opened up," Dr. Gupta says.

The project, which was undertaken when President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was the Director General of DRDO, had won his appreciation.

Cholesterol in the blood stream starts leaking into the arteries when the innermost layer of the arterial walls, the endothelium, is injured.

Until recently, it was believed that endothelial injuries were related to external causes such a smoking or diet. But most of the injuries are related to mental stress, says Dr. Gupta.

Endothelium produces nitric oxide, which does not allow cholesterol to stick to the walls of the artery. But stress inactivates the enzyme that produces nitric oxide, with the result that white blood cells and cholesterol floating in the blood stream starts sticking inside the arteries, creating blockages.

In today's competitive environment and increased work pressures, most people tend to exhibit Type A behaviour - they go through bouts of anxiety, anger, depression, emotional outbursts and feeling of isolation. These psychological stressors affect one's diet and sleep patterns and do a lot of damage to the heart.

"We empower our patients to heal themselves, not just the body, but mind and soul too. Peace and health comes when physical, mental and spiritual energies find harmony within our body," Dr. Gupta advocates.

Mind is the medium through which energy travels to one's body. Fill one's mind with positive thoughts, emotions, attitudes and happy memories; adopt a low-fat and fibre-rich diet; go for brisk morning walk at sunrise and an evening stroll just before sunset.

Three sleep cycles

"The body requires three cycles of sleep, each of two hours duration. The theory is that one cycle should be completed by midnight. So sleep at 10 p.m. and be up at 4 a.m.

"The early morning hours are the time when spiritual energy is at its peak. We advise our patients to keep their mind occupied with happy thoughts or just in peaceful silence till 8 a.m.

"Today, people wake up with their phones to their ears or just switch on the television, which does more harm for your system that you realise.

Lemon water

"Start the day with lemon water at 5 a.m. Ideally, breakfast should be between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., lunch between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. and dinner between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Have fruits two hours after food, twice a day, at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.," Dr. Gupta advises.

Too much stress is what prevents the liver from secreting good cholesterol, he adds. A very user-friendly programme, it does not even cost a penny to set one's heart on the way to health.

C. Maya

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