In this video, leading cardiologist, Dr. Aarush Manchanda, discusses the factors can influence heart problems, including those we can control, and those we cannot.
Dr. Manchanda starts by explaining that we need to think of heart disease as probabilistic. This means there are a number of different things that can affect our heart health, and these have the ability to increase or decrease our chances of suffering from heart problems. Within these risk factors, you’ll find non-modifiable and modifiable elements, which Dr. Manchanda goes on to explain.
Heart Problems and Non-Modifiable Risk Factors
Non-modifiable risk factors are those we have no control over unless we could miraculously become a Star Wars character that never ages. So why is Dr. Manchanda even discussing these risk factors if we can’t do anything about them? It’s simple – knowing about these factors will help you to take additional precautions to protect your heart health.
Scientists and doctors are trying to change one of these non-modifiable triggers (our genes) by searching for the one that can cause heart disease. In fact, Dr. Manchanda is doing some personal research himself, and if he discovers the gene, it will allow doctors to create an antibody that will target heart disease and reverse it. This would mean, even if you were born into a family with a history of heart problems, doctors would be able to take care of it from the core, significantly reducing your risk of heart-related issues in the future.
This is another factor we can’t control – even though some people like to think they can with Botox! But it’s what’s going on inside our bodies that really matters, which is why Dr. Manchanda refers to the heart house analogy he’s used in his book. Just like your house has walls with electrical currents running behind them, so too does your heart. And when your house starts to get old, the plumbing can start to rust, which is the same in your heart, and that’s when you can start to get problems.
These non-modifiable risk factors can’t be changed, but knowing about them will enable you to change parts of your lifestyle that are modifiable.
Heart Problems and Modifiable Risk Factors
Understanding modifiable risk factors is crucial, regardless of whether you’re at risk from non-modifiable factors are not. Dr. Manchanda really believes in the power of personalized medicine, and having a better understanding of your health can enable doctors to practice this.
For example, the number one modifiable risk factor is diabetes. If someone has diabetes or sugar problems, and you imagine this sugar water combined with other things, such as nicotine, fat, and tar, there’s going to be a lot of blockages. So, by keeping active and leading a healthy lifestyle, it will help to make sure your heart keeps supporting you.
Other key lifestyle changes you can make include quitting smoking; eating healthily; and reducing your caffeine, drug, and alcohol intake.
Risk factors are named in such a way for a reason: they play a key role in how likely you are to suffer from heart problems. And while there isn’t any given formula as to who’s going to suffer from heart disease, by taking those extra steps to look after yourself, you’ll help to make sure your heart is much healthier.