“HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR­SELF? AND WHAT DOES ‘KNOW YOUR­SELF’ HAVE TO DO WITH YOUR HEALTH? A LOT”

Dr NARESH TREHAN Car­dio­vas­cu­lar sur­geon, CMD, Medanta: The Medic­ity, Gur­gaon

India Today - - HEALTH -

Know­ing your body, how it works, and the en­vi­ron­ment you live in are the key to be­ing proac­tive about your health. There are three things one has to work out. First, know your genes. They will tell you about your chances of get­ting the three most com­mon and dev­as­tat­ing dis­eases. If there is coro­nary heart disease in ei­ther your mother or father, you have dou­ble the chance of get­ting heart disease: 20 per cent. If both par­ents have it, then there is 30 per cent chance.

Then there is di­a­betes. If one par­ent has it, chil­dren have 25 per cent chance of get­ting it. If both par­ents do, chances go up to 50 per cent. Cancer is the third risk. Some peo­ple in­herit gene faults that en­hance their risk of de­vel­op­ing par­tic­u­lar types of can­cers. BRCA genes carry risks of breast and ovar­ian can­cers to the next gen­er­a­tion, some­thing Hol­ly­wood ac­tor An­gelina Jolie has. Other in­her­ited genes are linked to other can­cers; some gene faults can in­crease the risk of more than one type of cancer. How­ever, some peo­ple with a pre­dis­pos­ing ge­netic vari­a­tion never get the disease while oth­ers do, within the same fam­ily.

Sec­ond, un­der­stand your own body struc­ture and how you treat it. There is a mis­match to­day be­tween the qual­ity and quan­tity of food we eat, our en­ergy in­take and out­put, es­pe­cially be­cause of seden­tary life­styles. We need to bal­ance that. You need to do three things for that: re­duce oil-based prod­ucts, sugar and car­bo­hy­drate and eat more fruits and veg­eta­bles, keep­ing in mind the ul­ti­mate calo­ries these foods give your body. On an av­er­age, an adult needs about 1,600 calo­ries a day. To match that con­sump­tion, you need 40 min­utes of car­dio­vas­cu­lar ex­er­cise—gym, walk, jog, swim—to keep your cir­cu­la­tion in good shape.

Third is the en­vi­ron­ment and how it can create a huge amount of stress, lead­ing to high blood pres­sure and the thick­en­ing of ar­ter­ies. The best way to neu­tralise stress is through yoga and pranayam. Asanas neu­tralise the ef­fect of sit­ting for long, stoop­ing over com­put­ers, wait­ing in traf­fic for hours, keep your body flex­i­ble, your bones healthy. Pranayam gives higher quan­tity of oxy­gen to your brain be­cause you are tak­ing a deep breath and hold­ing it, al­low­ing 200 per cent oxy­gen to your brain, which re­freshes sero­tonin and dopamine lev­els. A stress buster, you must do that ev­ery 24 hours. It also cleans your lungs. Along with it, avoid to­bacco and al­co­hol in ex­cess: no more than 60 cc in 24 hours, no more than four times a week.

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