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The heart of the matter

  • Published at 04:57 pm September 28th, 2018
On this World Heart Day, let’s make a pledge to have healthier lifestyles
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A healthier Bangladesh is a wealthier Bangladesh

Today is World Heart Day -- an annual event, and the world’s biggest platform for raising awareness about cardiovascular disease. This year, the global campaign focuses on looking after our own hearts, and the hearts of our loved ones: My heart, your heart.

According to World Heart Federation, the campaign wants individuals to question themselves about what it is they can do to look after their own hearts and the hearts of their loves ones. It also resonates with the professional cardiology and health care sector, which dedicates itself to looking after everybody’s hearts.

The federation says the main call to action for this year’s campaign is to make several promises -- a promise to get more active, say no to smoking, and eat healthy. Additionally, as a health care professional, the promise is to save more lives, and as a policy-maker to implement a non-communicable disease (NCD) action plan. 

Anxiety, aggressive emotions, excessive workload, and the daily stress of modern life greatly increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. If the heart is compared to a horse, then the mind is its rider. So when the mind increases the pace of life, naturally it adds pressure on the mind, creating an adverse impact on the heart.  

Two processes -- bypass and stenting -- exist to combat the diseases, both of which are expensive and risky. Though patients recover, they must rely on medication for the rest of their lives, and often with some physical inability as well. And the fear never goes away.    

Cardiovascular diseases take more lives every year than any other disease -- every year 17.3 million people die. World health conference identified cardiovascular diseases as one of the most dreadful non-contagious diseases, and set an objective to lowering the death rate to 25% in 194 countries by 2025. 

On the other hand, about 3.8m people die of malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis. These diseases often are presented as more severe than cardiovascular diseases.

Keeping fit

It has been observed that the risks associated with cardiovascular diseases reduced significantly if weight and blood pressure are kept under control -- one’s lifestyle plays a huge part in it. By controlling body weight, it is possible to reduce the risk of the disease. 

Children are the future of the nation, and it is important to keep an eye on their lifestyle. In the same way, we have to take steps so that women can remain healthy. Families can also play an important role -- parents can encourage their children to refrain from smoking, to be active, and to eat healthy.

Remembering the relationship between the heart and the mind, meditation is a fantastic practice to be able to calm the mind, and make it function more optimally. It is vital to lessen the mental pressure, and meditation goes a long way towards achieving that -- though it is not an easy task at all. 

Yoga can also be an alternative treatment of cardiovascular diseases. This alternative treatment is called holistic treatment -- a combination of modern technology and ancient natural methods. Patients receive a program to follow, observing soul, mind, and body -- a holistic approach. Over the years, holistic treatment has gained people’s trust, and has played a vital role in curing thousands of patients of heart diseases over the last eight years. 

Most people believe that once there is a block in the coronary artery, it cannot be reversed -- the only treatment is angioplasty or bypass surgery. Patients spend exorbitant sums of money on the procedures, home and abroad, never really escaping the risks or the fear of the diseases. 

It is also impossible for the majority of Bangladeshis to bear such costs. Most of our people live in villages, and many patients die before they are even admitted to hospital -- our poor infrastructure, communication, and lack of availability of medical assistance are at fault there.

Through the alternative system, there is an option for a disease-free life at a fraction of the cost. Prevention is always better than cure, so to prevent a heart attack is a far better option than treating it. It means to keep a heart healthy and strong. For this purpose, Holistic Health Care Centre is working.

On the occasion of World Heart Day, we must listen to our heart, and do what needs to be done to keep it healthy. In addressing cardiovascular diseases in Bangladesh, we must remember that it affects everybody, and ensure proper affordable treatment for all its citizens. 

Gobinda Chandra Das is Director, Holistic Healthcare Centre, Panthapath, Dhaka.