Cardiologist Dr. Blessan Varghese says cardiac risk factors could be reversible to a great extent by exercise and diet
Dr. Blessan Varghese was eager to become a doctor from his very young days, and he started his journey of medical profession in 1996 from Calicut medical college. Today he is known for his awareness campaigns against cardiac diseases. He got best young investigator award in 2012 from World Heart Federation. He is also an active member of American heart association, European society of cardiology, Cardiology society of India and American college of cardiology. Dr. Blessan Varghese completed the DM (cardiology) from St. Johns medical college, Bangalore and MD from NSCB medical college, Jabalpur. Now he serves as an interventional cardiologist in PVS Memorial Hospital, Cochin.
It was my privilege to meet Dr. Blessan and to share his views on cardiac risk reduction and to know the innovative ways of making awareness about the importance of exercise, conscious eating, adequate rest for a healthy life in today’s modern life.
Can you please explain how heart diseases are different from rest of the diseases?
Heart diseases are different from majority of diseases; generally heart diseases don’t produce predictive symptoms and if symptoms are very visible then we are already affected with heart disease. Moreover heart diseases have a strong genetic predisposition and life style diseases like diabetes, hypertension or increased cholesterol are increasing risk of heart diseases. One of the good things about heart diseases is that God has given long ‘incubation period’ of many years before an overt heart disease sets in and we can change or revert the disease by controlling these risk factors.
I believe prevention is better than cure in case of heart diseases, your comment please.
Yes, prevention is always better than cure and this is very much true in case of cardiac diseases. I urge all people to have daily exercise, adequate rest, conscious eating and regular health check ups. Read Business News.
What was your inspiration behind heart-day walkathon of 2015 and heart-day marathon of 2016?
Walking or Jogging is one of the easiest ways of exercise that has huge benefits on cardiac risk reduction, obesity and many other diseases. A brisk walk or jogging for one hour can burn 300-400 calories which is good enough to keep us healthy.
The inspiration for Walkathon and Marathon was from Melbourne; more than 75% of the Melbourne people run in the morning and go to bed by 9:30 to 10:00 PM. Sound sleep is ensured for everyone since there are no horns or bright light in the night which enhances overall wellness.
My objective of heart-day walkathon and marathon was to make awareness about the importance of exercise for healthy heart and to give confidence to those who have never attempted running. A brisk walk or jogging can be practiced in our daily life without any major hassles. In 2015 around 400 people participated in HEART DAY WALKATHON and in 2016 around 700 people participated in HEART RUN which is an indicator of increasing awareness about heart health in Cochin.
Can you please give some insights to demand eating or conscious eating?
Conscious eating means we deliberately eat food based on our daily requirement. Following are my few tips of conscious eating
- Have vegetables and fruits along with each meal, i.e. breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Serve each dish one by one and serve fruits and vegetables first and let rice be the last
- Eat for the need rather than eat to complete the servings
- Eat the food items with clear labeling preferably regarding its caloric values
- Use reliable raw materials in our home kitchen
Developed countries like US advocate the need of healthy food. Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative is about putting children on the path to a healthy future during their earliest months and years; giving parents helpful information and fostering environments that support healthy choices; providing healthier foods in our schools; ensuring that every family has access to healthy, affordable food; and, helping children become more physically active.
Why demand eating or conscious eating is very important?
Urbanization gives enough opportunity to enhance our quality of life, enough amenities to enjoy the daily life, but the same urbanization increases the risk of obesity and sedentary life indirectly making us physically unfit. The only option before us is exercising and demand eating for maintaining a healthy body and to reduce heart disease risk. Read more Interviews taken by Genesh.
How to ensure adequate rest in our daily life?
Most importantly have a sleep for minimum 8 hours daily and please ensure that we deliberately plan and go for a leisure trip. My suggestion is to use the leave travel allowance to maximum and occasional trekking is advisable.
What is your advice to prevent heart diseases?
I urge everyone to have adequate rest, avoid tobacco and leave the uncontrolled consumption of alcohol. My suggestion is to know your numbers; especially lipid profile, blood pressure, body weight, HbA1c, etc.
- HbA1c – Less than 6% is normal, 6.1 to 6.9% is prediabetes and equal to greater than 7% is diabetes
- Body weight – BMI of 18.6-24.9; Waistline smaller than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men
- Blood pressure – less than 130/80mm Hg
Total Cholesterol Level
|Less than 200mg/dL||Desirable|
|200-239 mg/dL||Borderline high|
|240mg/dL and above||High|
LDL (Bad) Cholesterol Level
LDL Cholesterol Category
|Less than 100mg/dL||Optimal|
|100-129mg/dL||Near optimal/above optimal|
|130-159 mg/dL||Borderline high|
|190 mg/dL and above||Very High|
HDL (Good) Cholesterol Level
HDL Cholesterol Category
|Less than 40 mg/dL||A major risk factor for heart disease|
|40—59 mg/dL||The higher, the better|
|60 mg/dL and higher||Considered protective against heart disease|
Cardiac risk factors accumulated could be reversed by following a responsible lifestyle. More details of Dr. Blessan Varghese at www.heartcare365.com