Doctors save millions of life courtesy their medical expertise and spirit of service, but when it comes to taking care of themselves, they too need a reminder every now and then for doing the needful for their overall well-being – considering they not only work for long hours but also under stressful situations, and often neglect their own health prioritising their patients over themselves. Stress and sedentary lifestyle have been acknowledged as risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and to prevent heart attack or cardiac arrest physicians should make appropriate lifestyle changes for robust heart health. From regular check-up, balanced diet, exercise, to finding ways to beat stress, it is important to take care of your heart. (Also read: National Doctor’s Day 2023: Date, history, significance, theme, ways to celebrate)
“A doctor, like any other human, is at risk for a heart attack due to stress, sedentary lifestyle, and irregular dietary habits, in addition to standard risk factors such as a high prevalence of high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. The main risk factor is the demanding environment of healthcare, stress of dealing with life-threatening patient disease, extensive discussion and explanation to relatives leads to lack of physical activity and the reluctance to perform regular preventive checks. You can reduce your risk of getting heart disease, which could lead to a heart attack, by adopting preventive actions. You can also boost your general health and happiness,” says Dr Naresh Kumar Goyal, Director & HOD – Cardiology, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh.
On the occasion of National Doctor’s Day (July 1), Dr Goyal also suggests lifestyle changes every doctor must embrace:
1. Regular checkup
Heart attacks do occur suddenly but the factors promoting heart disease develop silently in your body over years. Every doctor should perform a regular preventive health check, which includes not only blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol monitoring, but also TMT testing.
2. Foods to eat
All medical professionals are trained in food management. While they apply these principles at home, but in hospitals, particularly during discussions and meetings they do eat junk food, which should be limited.
3. Prolonged sitting poses health hazards
Long hours of consultations in OPD clinics can lead to increase in body fat and weight, and may lead to clotting in leg vessels. This kind of daily routine leads to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, deep vein thrombosis etc. Doctors should have a break and walk for some time in between prolong discussions.
4. Participate in regular physical activity
Regular physical activity can help you lose weight, improve your fitness, and lower various risk factors for heart disease, such as ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels, boost ‘good’ HDL cholesterol levels, and control high blood pressure and sugar levels.
5 Stress management
High blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease can be exacerbated by stress. Odd hours, critical patients, hiding important information of patient, can frustrate doctor and make them vulnerable to start smoking or taking drugs to deal with their woes. This kind of behaviour is more common in young professionals because of lack of quality time with family. Learning how to deal with stress and challenges can benefit both your mental and physical health. If a doctor is suffering from any discomfort, he or she should consult with his or her senior colleagues.
6. Quit smoking
Smoking increases your chance of heart disease and heart attack while also exacerbating other heart disease risk factors. Discuss with your colleagues about the programme and goods that can assist you in quitting smoking. Additionally, try to prevent second-hand smoke.
7. Sleep and cardiovascular health
Sleep aids in the healing and regeneration of your heart and blood vessels. It also aids in maintaining a healthy balance of hormones and encourage healthy growth and development of your tissue and organs.