World Heart Day: Dr Ashok Seth Answers Your Heart Health Queries

On World Heart Day, Dr Ashok Seth answers your heart health queries.

4 min read
Hindi Female

(September 29 is World Heart Day. This story is being republished from Quint Fit's archives in light of that)

In the run-up to World Heart Day, we asked you to send your questions regarding heart issues to Dr Ashok Seth, one of the top cardiologists in the country and Director at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, for personalised advice.

Thank you for the overwhelming response. It highlights the need for more such platforms where you get to ask your queries directly to leading doctors and experts in the country.

Dr Seth has answered each one of you individually. Please note these responses are not a diagnosis, but advice. Please visit a doctor for your treatment.


Given that obesity among children is on the rise, will the future be bleak for these children? Will these children be victims of cardiac diseases as adults? If so, what are the best ways for them to lose their excess baggage now, without depriving them of essential day-to-day nutrition?

Indians have the highest chances of getting heart disease and heart attacks in the world and it is taking epidemic proportion. We are genetically predisposed to it and if we add on risk factors our chances multiply manifold. Obesity is one of the risk factors and it’s a major concern that obese children could be victims of cardiac diseases as adults. Losing weight and eating healthy doesn’t mean nourishment and vitamin loss. Weight reduction comes by eating healthy diet, low in carbohydrates and trans fats, avoiding cola drinks, sweet foods and chocolates, fried foods as much as possible, and taking a rich protein diet. Also, regular exercise helps lose weight and improves heart health. Hence, eating healthy, daily exercise and games should be the way of life for children.


My father, aged 62 years, has undergone angioplasty and a stent has been put. Further, he has been informed that two other arteries are also choked. He needs to, perhaps, undergo an operation again. Please advice what we should do.

There are three arteries which supply blood to the heart muscle and it appears that one of them has been opened with Stent. It depends upon how severely are the remaining two arteries blocked which may affect his safety for the future. Usually, if the remaining two arteries are less than 70 percent blocked then optimal medical treatment can continue and he would do well without more stents. But if they are also critically 80-90 percent blocked then he may require treatment of those with stents. The need for further angioplasty and stents can also be judged by seeing whether he gets any chest pain during his daily activities and walking and also by undergoing a test called Exercise Radionucleide Study. I suggest that he should sees his cardiologist to discuss these options.


When we’re stressed, there is increase in the concentration of stress hormone known as cortisol. Increased concentration of cortisol are related with many diseases including cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure (BP). I want to know how cortisol affect blood pressure and our heart?

During Sustained Stress various hormones are produced called endorphins, cortisol is one of them, others being epinephrine etc. These hormones cause increase in heart rate, cause constriction of arteries across the body which leads to increase in BP and can also constrict the arteries of the heart leading to angina. Thus, recurrent and prolonged stress is a risk factor for high BP and heart attacks.


What should be the fitness level of heart in 50 years or 55-60-year-old person? Apart from stress test and pathological test, like non-stop walk for 10 km or swimming for 30 minutes?

Fitness levels are very individualised at any age and is related to how long and in a sustainable manner has a person been exercising. A fit person aged 55-60 years should be able to do non-stop waking of 10 km or swimming for 30 mins provided he gradually builds up his stamina for this over a few months and shouldn’t try this suddenly and shouldn’t be a one off thing.


My father is 50 years old and has hypertension since 3 years. He’s also a tobacco addict since 10 years. So, can you please give advice on to control BP and diet plan for the same?

He definitely needs to give up tobacco. In addition, have a regular exercise regime to lose weight if he is overweight, take lower salt diet and best to avoid salty stuff and excessive fatty and sugary food. He should see a doctor for BP measurements regularly and take medicines as advised.


I am 73+. I have a high sugar (Type II) and high BP. The problems are more than 15 years old. Presently, I am on Losakind 50 twice a day and Istamet 50/500 in addition to medications for eye and renal problem. For the last 6 months, I occasionally feel sudden electric shock like sensation in the brain for fractions of a second. An ECG and CTC scan revealed nothing. What could be causing it?

This is very difficult to answer without an examination. It is reassuring that CT scan is normal. You should see a neurologist.


I have an irregular heartbeat. It does not bother me much but worries me. I do not wish to take complicated medicines which may have serious side effects but would like to try effective natural remedies. I learnt that deficiency of electrolytes and an imbalance may trigger arrhythmia. I understand magnesium deficiency may cause irregular heartbeat. If so, would you recommend taking oral magnesium or applying externally on the body? Can you also suggest what are the reliable tests for the content of magnesium in my body? I understand normal blood tests are very unreliable as there is a very low content of magnesium in the blood, while most of it is in the bones and other areas. Is it true?

There are many types of irregular heartbeats and it has many causes. Magnesium deficiency is a very rare cause and does not happen spontaneously in otherwise healthy people. Please don’t try to treat yourself. Instead, you must see a cardiologist who would do an ECG , Echo and also a Holter examination to determine the cause and type of palpitation.

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