Heart to Heart Talk: How to Keep the Heart Healthy During Festivals

Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)
Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)

General Physician | 6+ years

How to keep heart healthy during festivals
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It will soon be time to light up the streets with lamps, burn crackers, and prepare mouth-watering delicacies and savouries. You guessed it right! It’s festival season. While all that fasting and feasting is taking place, it is important to know how to keep the heart healthy during festivals.

This article may help you understand how festivals impact your heart health, how you can tackle this, and how to make your heart smile with health while enjoying the festivities.

Contents:
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    How Do Festivals Impact Heart Health?
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    Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy During the Festival Season
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    When to See a Doctor?
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    Don’t Have Time To Read?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    FAQs
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How Do Festivals Impact Heart Health?

A festival is a time when you set away any caution regarding your health and heartfully indulge in all the celebrations. But anything and everything that you do and don’t do impacts your health in some way. Here are a few ways in which festivals can affect your health.

Fasting and High Blood Pressure

Most festivals in India include rituals that insist on fasting. It is also known to be beneficial for your heart as it may reduce blood pressure. However, if you have a heart problem, maintain caution while fasting and always consult a doctor beforehand, as any electrolyte imbalance in the body due to fasting may cause an irregular heartbeat.

Feasting and High Blood Pressure

Feasting is an integral part of any celebration, especially in India. It is impossible to avoid mouth-watering traditional sweets and savouries during these festivals. However, you should be cautious of your blood sugar levels and blood pressure and consider the portion size of the food, especially if it is heavy on sugar and salt. 

You can balance the intake of high-calorie food by eating it with food rich in fibre and proteins like fruitsvegetables, and whole grains. Avoid processed food, red meat, fried items, and foods that contain unhealthy fats

Try making sweets with skimmed milk and low-fat milk products as they contain less fat and help you in weight management. Substitute sugar with artificial sweeteners to reduce the calorie count of the food item. 

Drinks and High Blood Pressure

Most people indulge in excessive alcohol consumption during gatherings and parties, which may result in an increase in blood pressure, heart failure, or stroke. Along with alcohol, existing heart conditions and the stress all around the celebrations may increase your blood pressure and worsen your heart condition. 

Even without a heart problem, alcohol should be limited to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or 1 drink or less in a day for women.

Meanwhile, if you are diabetic, avoid packaged fruit juices that may contain a high amount of sugar, as they may increase your blood sugar levels and damage the blood vessels, thus increasing your blood pressure. Instead, try eating whole fruits with their skin as it contains a high amount of fibre. 

Stress and High Blood Pressure

Late-night chit-chats, endless chores, and fun activities are a part of celebrations during festivals. This can lead to disrupted sleep patterns and increase your stress levels, which in turn, may increase your blood sugar, blood pressure, and inflammation in the body. 

You should try to get at least 7 hours of sleep in a day. If you have an existing health condition, do not skip your sleep. If it is inevitable during festivals and celebrations, make sure to compensate for it by sleeping adequately the next day.

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Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy During the Festival Season

Let us see what precautionary measures you can take to keep your heart healthy while enjoying the fun of festivals.

  • If you plan on fasting, get your doctor’s approval beforehand and take special precautions to avoid low or high blood pressure. 
  • Taking your medications on time and as prescribed can help you avoid problems associated with high and low blood pressure. Do not forget to take your medications and check whether they can be taken on an empty stomach or not.
  • Keep yourself hydrated as dehydration can lead to constriction of the blood vessels and result in high blood pressure.
  • Have fruits and vegetable salads before your meal. This can help you feel satiated and prevent overeating.
  • Keep yourself active and exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. This can help improve your metabolism and reduce the strain on your heart.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption as it can raise your blood pressure to unhealthy levels.
  • Stay away from loud noise and anything that triggers stress.

When to See a Doctor?

High blood pressure does not usually have specific signs and symptoms until it reaches a life-threatening stage. 

You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following symptoms of a hypertensive crisis:

  • Severe anxiety
  • Blurred vision
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unresponsiveness

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • The festival season is filled with fun, celebrations, and lip-smacking delicacies. It is important to indulge in these activities but it is also essential to know how to keep your heart healthy during festivals.
  • Festivals can impact your heart health in many ways. Fasting during festivals may cause irregular heartbeat due to the resultant electrolyte imbalance, and excessive feasting and increased intake of alcohol, carbohydrates and salt can increase your blood sugar level and blood pressure. 
  • Also, disrupted sleep and stress can result in increased blood pressure. Hence, it is important to be cautious and take precautionary measures for your heart health during festivals.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables, watch your portion size, take your medications on time, exercise for around 30 minutes a day, keep yourself hydrated, and have at least 7 hours of sleep.
  • Consult your doctor immediately if you experience any symptoms of a hypertensive crisis such as severe anxiety, blurred vision, chest pain, confusion, nausea, vomiting, and unresponsiveness. 
  • Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading diabetologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate blood sugar monitoring and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Also, check out our Diabetes Management program which provides ‎360º care. Let’s treat diabetes together.

Frequently Asked Questions

Plan your days in advance and make preparations for festivals to avoid last-minute stress. Take your regular medications and do not skip exercises. Have your meals on time and eat healthy foods. Get enough sleep, and avoid things that trigger stress.

Yes, it is normal to experience a bit of anxiety at festivals. The loud noise and crowd may create stress and anxiety in many people. Planning ahead, taking breaks to rest, and not forcing yourself into anything you do not enjoy may help ease anxiety.

A hypertensive should avoid foods that are high in salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats such as saturated or trans fats during the festive season. They should limit their consumption of alcohol and take steps to manage their stress. They should also measure their blood pressure regularly. All these steps are the answer to how to keep the heart healthy during festivals.

Dr. Pakhi Sharma
Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBS
(General physician, 6+ years)
An expert in obstetrics and medical emergencies, Dr. Pakhi Sharma, an alumni of Sri Devaraj Urs University of Higher Education and Research Centre, is a general physician working at Phablecare. She has 6+ years of work experience spread across gynaecology and obstetrics, family medicine, and medical emergencies at renowned hospitals and clinics.

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