Will cardiometabolic syndrome become endemic?
So-called "healthy young individuals" are dying suddenly from heart problems such heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Surat : Over the course of our billions of years of evolution, our ancestors’ DNA shifted such that we could get by on a minimum of food while yet exerting maximum effort to get what we needed. About a century ago, at the beginning of the industrial revolution, this began to alter. Since then, genetic maladaptation has occurred, which may provide the basis for why cardiometabolic syndrome has become so widespread.
So-called “healthy young individuals” are dying suddenly from heart problems such heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Thus, let us contemplate our own selves. When humans were suddenly exposed to an excess of food with the least amount of physical exertion, our genes, which had been tuned to little food and maximal activity for billions of years, began to malfunction. This may have led to genetic confusion and maladaptation during the previous century, both of which may have played a significant role in the rise of cardiometabolic disorders.
Apart from bad genes, we know that a number of other factors contribute to the prevalence of cardiometabolic disease, such as insulin resistance (which can manifest as diabetes), excess body fat, elevated cholesterol and blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle, regular tobacco use, high intake of saturated fat and refined carbohydrates, and so on.
Are we missing something in the list mentioned above?
Yes. We missed most the important physiological need of our body to recover- Sleep.
We are suffering from lack of sleep and mental stress which is equally responsible for bad cardiovascular health.
A minimum of 8 hours of sound sleep is necessary apart from a healthy diet and regular exercise for healthy heart and healthy mind.
Also, have you heard about “gut microbial diversity?” Our intestines have trillions of microbia which are essential for good health and are indirectly associated with a healthy heart too. Mother nature has blessed us with this abundance of“ gut microbial diversity”, but we are rapidly losing many healthy gut microbial families which might lead to bad gut health. Probable reasons for lack of gut microbial diversity are processed food, food with artificial sweeteners, junk food, excessive refined carbohydrate, fried food, and many more environmental factors.
Now let’s discuss a bit about the circadian rhythm of the body. Our body was adapted to digest food and release certain healthy hormones according to the time of the day related to sunrise and sunset since time immemorial. For example, we get a high insulin spike if we eat simple carbohydrates or sugar at night which over time leads to insulin resistance, eventually giving rise to high chances of diabetes and an unhealthy heart.
Therefore, if we want to think beyond the box, we need to return to the way of life of our forebears. They engaged in strenuous physical activity before to eating and sleeping, and their diet consisted mostly of fresh, locally grown basic foods. Neither pizzas nor burgers nor ice creams were familiar to them. When compared to the amount of exercise they were receiving, they were consuming less. I feel terrible as a cardiologist having to do angioplasties on young patients with heart disease and diabetes, and I want to emphasise this point.
Let’s talk about the most talked-about illness of late: Covid, and how it affects the cardiovascular system. In my opinion, Covid has served as a warning bell, revealing and speeding up the widespread, systemic cardiovascular disease. The endothelium, the innermost layer of the arteries that carry blood to the heart muscle, is negatively impacted. However, if individuals had adopted a healthy lifestyle like that of our forebears as part of a rehabilitation plan, the harmful impact of Covid on our endothelium would have been reversible and transient. Instead, in a boomeranging pattern, humans began to become less healthy after the covid period.
In conclusion, what should we do today to ensure a heart-healthy lifestyle?
Assess your potential for developing cardiac problems. Is there a history of heart disease in your family? Do you have diabetes? Can I ask whether you smoke? Have you been diagnosed with hypertension or hyperlipidemia? Have you been leading an unhealthy or inactive lifestyle for a long time? Then, even if there are no symptoms, you should get your heart checked regularly. Also, be on the lookout for the warning signs of heart disease, such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, exhaustion, and palpitations, which may all become worse with physical activity.
If you have any unusual symptoms anywhere from your ear lobe to your umbilicus, especially if they worsen while you walk or exercise, you should probably get your heart tested.
Dr. Sanjay Vaghani
MD, DM, FSCAI