Interview with Dr. Devi Shetty, Famous Cardiologist and Chairman of Narayana Hrudayalaya


Interview with Dr. Devi Shetty Related to Heart, a Famous Cardiologist and Founder and Chairman, Narayana Hrudayalaya Group of Hospitals.

Q : What are the five thumb rules for a layman to take care of his heart?

Dr Devi Shetty:
1. Diet – Less of carbohydrate, more of protein, less oil
2. Exercise – Half an hour’s walk, at least five days a week; avoid lifts and avoid sitting for a longtime
3. Quit smoking
4. Control weight
5. Control blood pressure and sugar

Q : Is eating non-veg food (fish) good for the heart?

Dr Devi Shetty: No

Q : It’s still a grave shock to hear that some apparently healthy person gets a cardiac arrest. How do we understand it in perspective?

Dr Devi Shetty: This is called silent attack; that is why we recommend everyone past the age of 30 to undergo routine health checkups.

Q : Are heart diseases hereditary?

Dr Devi Shetty: Yes

Q : What are the ways in which the heart is stressed? What practices do you suggest to de-stress?

Dr Devi Shetty: Change your attitude towards life. Do not look for perfection in everything in life.

Q : Is walking better than jogging or is more intensive exercise required to keep a healthy heart?

Dr Devi Shetty: Walking is better than jogging since jogging leads to early fatigue and injury to joints

Q : Can people with low blood pressure suffer heart diseases?

Dr Devi Shetty: Extremely rare

Q : Does cholesterol accumulates right from an early age (I’m currently only 22) or do you have to worry about it only after you are above 30 years of age?

Dr Devi Shetty: Cholesterol accumulates from childhood.

Q : How do irregular eating habits affect the heart?

Dr Devi Shetty: You tend to eat junk food when the habits are irregular and your body’s enzyme release for digestion gets confused.

Q : How can I control cholesterol content without using medicines?

Dr Devi Shetty: Control diet, walk and eat walnut.

Q : Can yoga prevent heart ailments?

Dr Devi Shetty: Yoga helps.

Q : Which is the best and worst food for the heart?

Dr Devi Shetty: Best food is fruits worst are oil.

Q : Which oil is better – gingili, groundnut, sunflower, saffola, olive?

Dr Devi Shetty: All oils are bad; the so-called best oil company has the largest marketing budget.

Q : What is the routine checkup one should go through? Is there any specific test?

Dr Devi Shetty: Routine blood test to ensure sugar, cholesterol is ok. Check BP, Treadmill test after an echo.

Q : How different was it in treating Noor Fatima, the little kid from Pakistan?

Dr Devi Shetty: It was extremely difficult, Because of the media attention. As far as the medical treatment is concerned, she is like any other child with a complex heart problem.

Q : What are the first aid steps to be taken on a heart attack?

Dr Devi Shetty: Help the person into a sleeping position, put an aspirin tablet under the tongue with a sorbitrate tablet if available, and rush him to a coronary care unit since the maximum casualty takes place within the first hour.

Q : How do you differentiate between pain caused by a heart attack and that caused due to gastric trouble?

Dr Devi Shetty: Extremely difficult without ECG.

Q : What is the main cause of a steep increase in heart problems amongst youngsters? I see people of about 30-40 yrs of age having heart attacks and serious heart problems?

Dr Devi Shetty: Increased awareness has increased incidents. Also, sedentary lifestyles, smoking, junk food, lack of exercise in a country where people are genetically three times more vulnerable for heart attacks than Europeans and Americans.

Q : Is it possible for a person to have BP outside the normal range of 120/80 and yet be perfectly healthy?

Dr Devi Shetty: Yes.

Q : Marriages within close relatives can lead to heart problems for the child. Is it true?

Dr Devi Shetty: Yes, co-sanguinity leads to congenital abnormalities and you may not have a software engineer as a child

Q : Many of us have an irregular daily routine and many a times we have to stay late nights in office. Does this affect our heart? What precautions would you recommend?

Dr Devi Shetty: When you are young, nature protects you against all these irregularities. However, as you grow older, respect the biological clock.

Q : Will taking anti-hypertensive drugs cause some other complications (short / long term)?

Dr Devi Shetty: Yes, most drugs have some side effects. However, modern anti-hypertensive drugs are extremely safe.

Q : Will consuming more coffee/tea lead to heart attacks?

Dr Devi Shetty: No.

Q : Are asthma patients more prone to heart disease?

Dr Devi Shetty: No.

Q : How would you define junk food?

Dr Devi Shetty: Fried food like Kentucky, McDonalds, samosas, and even masala dosas.

Q : You mentioned that Indians are three times more vulnerable. What is the reason for this, as Europeans and Americans also eat a lot of junk food?

Dr Devi Shetty: Every race is vulnerable to some disease and unfortunately; Indians are vulnerable for the most expensive disease.

Q : Does consuming bananas help reduce hypertension?

Dr Devi Shetty: No.

Q : Can a person help himself during a heart attack (Because we see a lot of forwarded emails on this)?

Dr Devi Shetty: Yes. Lie down comfortably and put an aspirin tablet of any description under the tongue and ask someone to take you to the nearest coronary care unit without any delay and do not wait for the ambulance since most of the time, the ambulance does not turn up.

Q : Do, in any way, low white blood cells and low hemoglobin count lead to heart problems?

Dr Devi Shetty: No. But it is ideal to have normal hemoglobin level to increase your exercise capacity.

Q : Sometimes, due to the hectic schedule we are not able to exercise. So, does walking while doing daily chores at home or climbing the stairs in the house, work as a substitute for exercise?

Dr Devi Shetty: Certainly. Avoid sitting continuously for more than half an hour and even the act of getting out of the chair and going to another chair and sitting helps a lot.

Q : Is there a relation between heart problems and blood sugar?

Dr Devi Shetty: Yes. A strong relationship since diabetics are more vulnerable to heart attacks than non-diabetics.

Q : What are the things one needs to take care of after a heart operation?

Dr Devi Shetty: Diet, exercise, drugs on time. Control cholesterol, BP, weight.

Q : Are people working on night shifts more vulnerable to heart disease when compared to day shift workers?

Dr Devi Shetty: No.

Q : What are the modern anti-hypertensive drugs?

Dr Devi Shetty: There are hundreds of drugs and your doctor will chose the right combination for your problem, but my suggestion is to avoid the drugs and go for natural ways of controlling blood pressure by walk, diet to reduce weight and changing attitudes towards lifestyles.

Q : Does dispirin or similar headache pills increase the risk of heart attacks?

Dr Devi Shetty: No.

Q : Why is the rate of heart attacks more in men than in women?

Dr Devi Shetty: Nature protects women till the age of 45.

Q : How can one keep the heart in a good condition?

Dr Devi Shetty: Eat a healthy diet, avoid junk food, exercise everyday, do not smoke and, go for a health checkup if you are past the age of 30 for at least once in two yrs. And work very hard…


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