This Heart Surgeon’s Advice Will Make You Healthy

Today we have with us Dr. Udgeath Dhir, MBBS, MS, M.CH. (cardiac surgery).

Dr. Udgeath Dhir is a cardio-thoracic surgeon. He has operated on around 10,000 cases over the course of more than fifteen years. Dr. Udgeath Dhir is a member of several associations, like the International Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), the European Association of Cardio Thoracic Surgeons (EACTS), and the International Society of Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery (ISMICS). Dr. Dhir has published papers in leading journals and authored chapters in cardiac surgery text books. Dr. Udgeath Dhir has been awarded the Best Paper Presentation at the International Coronary Congress. Dr. Dhir performs a variety of adult cardiac surgery, with special interests in total artery bypass surgery, minimally invasive valvular ,coronary, and congenital heart surgery, heart failure surgery, ventricular assist devices and cardiac transplants, and Robotic cardiac surgery.

Q: How can an individual estimate their personal risk of heart disease, and what should they do if they believe they are at risk? Especially nowadays, people are getting too much information.

Dr. So, the heart is the main organ that pumps blood to the whole body, but it is comprised of three systems. One is that it has four chambers and four valves. It has a muscle. Second, it has an electrical current system that is how we see the heart rate or pulse, which is what we call it. And third, the heart itself needs a blood supply.

It supplies blood to the whole body, but it itself also needs a blood supply. All these three systems are interconnected, and a problem in one can manifest in the other, or the problem in the other can manifest in the other, and they can independently also be diseased.

There are certain diseases that happen to young kids, which means that by birth there are certain diseases like heart attacks, and what we understand means it is primarily because of the blockage in the heart where the blood supply is stopped. Because of clotting, maybe because of cholesterol deposition, there are multiple theories about it. And third is what we heard late: that some young person who was just dancing collapsed. These are called sudden deaths, and this is called a cardiac arrest. It is mostly 75–80% because of some electrical drift arrhythmias.

That means the normal rhythm is disturbed, and suddenly the heart stops pumping. And the blood doesn’t go to the brain or to the heart itself, and then it succumbs, and the patient dies within a minute. So, these are the things. So, how can we assess these risks? So, most importantly, we inherit features from our parents; we inherit certain diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol metabolism. There are families where heart attacks occur. They say that my grandfather had a heart attack at 50 and my father had a heart attack at 55.

What we have seen is that in the present generation, what fathers, parents, or grandparents had, we had those things 10 years earlier. You should get yourself screened. So how do you classify your heart rate as high? If your family history includes high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes, your lifestyle means you are a smoker, and your job is stressful where your sleeping hours are less. So, these are high-risk patients.

So, what we can do is consider them high-risk and get them evaluated. There is no customised investigation, but there are multiple modalities, such as an ECG, a pulse and blood pressure monitoring alone, some tests, and what we call an ultrasound of the heart, which we technically call echocardiography. Get these tests, and we can screen them for whether they are at high risk or not. Here, the latest advent is that for those who are at very high risk, we can just screen them with a cardiac CT or MRI. So, we can actually stratify their risk based on whether they have a probability of having heart disease or a risk of sudden cardiac death.

For that, I say screening is the most important thing. Your regular checkup with your health physician or all that is most important. It is not Google that tells you it is your physician, who is not a technician but a clinician. He can be your general physician. He can be anyone who can stratify your risk. That is one thing.

Q: So, if I understand this, I see there are two major factors. One is the inheritance part of it, if you have a history; the second is your lifestyle. You know the way you are, and maybe the sleeping pattern, the lifestyle, the food habits, etc.

Dr. When you see these things, the best thing to do about them is to have a regular screening. So, regular screening in this regard will make you aware of how healthy your heart is. So, what I mean is regular screening; at times, you can do it in your present era. We have multiple smart watches, we have equipment, and post-COVID, we have a pulse oximeter and all that.

So, everyone knows that while exercising, your target heart rate should be 220 minus your age, which I think everyone knows from Google Earth. So, never try to achieve your target heart rate. Try to achieve 85–90 percent of your target heart rate. The second thing I say is stress and all that. There is no per se law or rule of medicine. The only rule in medicine is that there is no law at all.

So, everyone has to do a customised thing with a smart watch. See previously what they used to say: that physician is very good. He just holds the pulse, and he diagnoses what disease you are suffering from. So, I would say a pulse rate—a basic basal pulse rate—is also indicative of your heart disease or not. If you are having a higher pulse rate persistently above 90–100 without rhyme or reason, that should be a telltale sign that something is wrong with you. If you have a high pulse rate, you are young, you are a non-smoker, you are exercising, and still your pulse rate is higher. That is a red flag.

Then another thing is that we try to find an alibi. Our body is the most complex and brilliant supercomputer made by—you call it God, you call it Mother Nature, you call it anyone.

It gives you a red flag before anything happens. It is up to us whether we accept that red flag or not.

Q: You meant to say it warned us before, right?

Dr. See, we try to find an alibi. I am not feeling well today. Yesterday, I had three cups of coffee; that’s why my heart rate is high. I am a bit uneasy because I had a fight with my spouse or my boss shouted at me, and it was not a congenial environment. I’m having slight discomfort in the chest, but that was because I was working long on the computer, and maybe it is because of posture.

Yeah. And last but not least, it is gastric. I’m just having gas. I had been to a party, and I was bloated, and I was so uncomfortable till the moment I took some Eno and all that, and once I burped after that, it was a relief. So that these are all general equivalents. The most important thing is that everyone says classical chest pain, and the pain radiating to the left hand happens only in 30% of people. The cardiac pain can be felt from the tip of the earlobe until the umbilicus.

The body is giving you a red flag. Identify those red flags.

Q: So my next question is, okay, there are certain lifestyles that put us at risk.

So, it’s a very fast-paced world today, and we have a lot of stress, as you mentioned. So, what are the probable lifestyle changes we could make?

Dr. So, what I say to everyone right now is that the present dictum is to work hard.

And what I say is: take rest and sleep the hardest. So, see you work hard; no questions asked. Party also harder. Now, give rest to the body. As simple as that, if I give you a connotation like that, once the battery is discharged, you put it on a charger. In the same way, how will our bodies get charged?

It gets recharged by meditation, exercise, diet, and sleep. So, you have to have all these four things, which need to be addressed in totality.

Q: My next question was whether lifestyle changes or medication can manage high blood pressure.

Dr. There are two common diseases, which are called the silent killers. One is hypertension, and the other is diabetes.

Per se, high blood pressure doesn’t have symptoms until it has reached that stage where it has already exceeded the point of correction and has led to a complication. Everyone has this notion that high blood pressure causes headaches.

No. A headache is not a symptom of high blood pressure. It can be associated with it, but high blood pressure doesn’t cause these symptoms. Persistent high blood pressure is the most common cause of blockages in the arteries, leading to heart attacks and even brain strokes.

Don’t add extra salt. We require one gramme of salt in our body, but don’t add extra salt. Extra salt means we have a habit. Salad has come. Oh, that Jain churna—it’s awesome. You pour it on your salad, and you just keep on munching. There are certain people who, for no rhyme or reason, whatever vegetable you serve, they’ll just first pick up that salt.

Then another thing: we have a lot of Marwadis, Rajasthanis, and guys from MP. Yeah. Their thing is that they don’t eat their food without bhujia, papad, achar, and chutney. The pickles—they have pickles and bhujia—have so much extra salt. The second thing is processed food. See, for preservation, we need that there ought to be extra salt in it.

And the more preserved food you eat, it is not good; see, I don’t say no to everything. Eat everything, but in moderation. In moderation.

Excess of everything is bad.

So yes, lifestyle changes. If you exercise, if you reduce your weight, if you don’t take extra salt, if you have a schedule of exercising, and if you sleep six to eight hours daily, you can reduce your blood pressure and avoid the risk of long-term complications because of high blood pressure, which can ultimately lead to heart diseases.

Q: And what about the diabetes impact on heart health?

Dr. When my dad was practicing, that means when he was in the medical learning period during, I would say, medical teaching, it was a dictum that if you know syphilis, you know, the whole of medicine.

Right now, the dictum is that if you know diabetes, you know the whole of medicine. Oh, diabetes affects everything from the hair to the tip of your toenail. So there are certain changes. Diabetes causes changes in the heart. So diabetes, as I call it, is a metabolic syndrome that affects the heart, the kidneys, the eyes, and the liver. You can control your diabetes by controlling your blood sugar levels and regularly screening yourself. There are other telltale signs, which indirectly means that if you get your eye checked, you can also come to know whether you have been prolonged hypertensive or prolonged diabetic.

There are certain non-invasive tests that you can get done that can tell you that you are about to develop a heart disease. So controlling diabetes is most important.

Secondly, regular checkups. What I say is, for diabetics, regular follow-up, regular sugar. And okay, even with hypertension and diabetes, they can have a honeymoon period where they can do everything. So my diabetic patients eat mangoes, including sweets. But they skipped other things that day. So if they are having a rasgulla, they are not going to have moong ki dal ka halwa, and they are going to cut on rice that day. Previously, if you had diabetes, you were not able to eat anything. No, you can eat everything.

But frequently, and you have to skip if there is a high sugar content, cut down on the carbs in the next diet or in that diet itself. Again, you are advising moderation and being very wise with your intake. See, what I say about diet is, okay, everybody requires a different diet. A European diet may not be feasible for us. And an Indian diet may not be feasible for American people. But to do this, we have to realise the fact that our diet, family eating patterns, and geographical eating patterns have all been tested since time immemorial.

Like, we cannot have lard oil prepared daily. Yeah, and I was not destined for it. Bour taste buds are not made for it. So half a spoon of desi ghee in your dal or chapati will not harm you. We require 10 to 15% fat in our diet.

Q: You are a cardiothoracic surgeon, and from a surgeon’s perspective, you know, can you provide some guidance on the role of medications? You know, most of us, especially in India or even Indians staying abroad, whenever they have to go or they’ve been advised for heart surgery, they’re very panicky and disturbed.

I personally also feel that looking at the immediate family and everybody else adds to their anxiety as well. You know, so as a surgeon, what is your advice for such people? And also, how can they maintain a healthy heart even after such interventions?

Dr. I’ll just first explain that. If you ask me, not because I’m a cardiothoracic surgeon, I’m saying it.

Heart surgery is the safest surgery.

I don’t say without saying that I have to say that. So I’m saying this because I’m a cardiothoracic surgeon and I’m doing surgeries. That’s why I say no. See, if you know your devils, all those devils are in front of your screen. And you are monitoring it. And then you do some work in which area; where would you feel safe? because it’s a known devil. It’s a known devil.

And we put in multiple screening lines and invasive lines during surgery. And everything, even the slightest change in your electrolytes, is monitored every minute. Your continuous pulse rate and your heartbeat are actually being captured. If there is anything, you can immediately correct it.

Because the heart is the major organ. And because of our old notion, the comparison is that my grandfather had surgery in 1980. And he had a tough time for two months, three months. We are in 2024.

I operated on a 73-year-old lady yesterday. She had a tumour in her heart. And she’s diabetic. I operated on her, took her into the OT at five o’clock, and did her heart surgery, where I opened the chamber of the heart and removed that tumour to a small incision, which is just a five-centimetre incision, that too in the axilla. And she is. I finished the surgery somewhere around 10:30, and the morning the attendants are talking to, she is sitting right now in the chair and having tea.

Okay. So things have advanced, and the technology has advanced in other arenas as well, even in cardiothoracic surgery. So that is not that; see what I say to the patients; see that no one will recommend; see that there are guidelines worldwide.

We have the American Heart Association, the Canadian Heart Association, and European guidelines. When they say that your heart surgery is the best option, you still choose the second-best option. But the point is, when we go out for dinner with our family or when we go out shopping, do we choose the second best?

Interviewer: No, we choose the best.

We choose the best. That is, suppose you fix up a restaurant and you have to have food, and they are saying that you have to wait for 30 minutes, but you know that it is the best restaurant. You will wait for 30 minutes.

Why do we compromise on the heart? Why do we compromise on the treatment? Why? So when it comes to our health, why do we go for the second-best?

And secondly, as you said, I operated with guys who are marathon runners and who are fond of trekking. And they took clearances within six weeks of my heart surgery. There’s a patient who is under 50; he ranked third all over India in badminton championships. And this was just two months after the heart surgery, which I did.

Interviewer: Oh, wonderful. Wonderful.

So, and they are live examples. Some of them are from Gurgaon, some of them are from Agra, and all that. And they have; I have pictures with them. So post-cardiac surgery, it is not that you will be disabled, you will be debilitated, you won’t be able, but you can do your normal course of action within six weeks; six weeks is the normal healing time.

And post-cardiac surgery, if you control your sugars, control your blood pressure, take proper medications, and have timely health checkups, you won’t have problems for the next 15 to 20 years. So that would answer your question about how to maintain a healthy heart after such interventions. So I would say cardiac surgery is screened from top to bottom. I mean, I am doing medically invasive and robotic cardiac surgeries.

And so the point is, we have advanced much further, but because the heart is the major organ, that’s why everyone is more apprehensive about going in for heart surgery. And, and I think in society also, there’s a lot of speculation; you know, if you talk about heart disease, it is taken as something really, very, very grave, you know, very big.

Q: To extend further, give some kind of guidance on the role of medications in terms of lowering or managing heart disease and other aspects of heart disease.

Dr. See, we live in a thyroid belt. Every third person has a thyroid problem in India because we live in the Himalayan belt and all. So we take supplements. Our vision for the future appears short. So we put on specs. Similarly, if our cholesterol is high, there are certain enzymatic deficiencies that are not able to properly assimilate the cholesterol.

So what we found is that even I used to take placental blood and see. So what we found there—bad cholesterol or good cholesterol—is the common dictum in all of the media you would hear. That is considered the bad, and SDL is considered the good, but there are. I don’t want to go into the depths of it, but still, if you maintain your LDL levels below 70 or below 60, the chances of those LDLs harming your arteries are less than if your cholesterol is higher than 100. So these statins are wonderful drugs. If taken at a timely interval, 

They can lower the pace. See what you have inherited genetically.

No one can stop it. But we can lower the speed. And if we diagnose at a primordial level at the right time, we can reverse it.

So cholesterol-lowering drugs, if they are indicated, have a lot of guidelines for them. When to start and when not to start at what cholesterol level?

Yeah. If it is indicated that taking it won’t harm you, it is going to benefit you in the long term. And we were talking about the lifestyle at the beginning of the interview.

I’ll just frame it. We have become pressure cookers without vessels.

So yeah, I was working in the office. I then returned home after attending a party, having four or five drinks, and dancing. It was 12:31 a.m. And again, at eight o’clock, I have to reach the office. So I just wake up at 7:45am, grab a bread or a coffee, put on the airpod, and start running for the office, talking to everyone on the airpod, and all that is not life. You have to give adequate time to your lunch, dinner, breakfast, and snacks.

The second thing is that you have to have six to eight hours of proper sleep and food. You have to have what I say in food: once your meal is served, all the colours of a rainbow should be on your table. So whether it should be a red apple or orange or a yellow banana or a beetroot or a beetroot and salad.

Most of the patients, they say, are not non-vegetarians. I never smoked. I never drink alcohol, and I’m a pure vegetarian. I don’t eat after six, and still I have these heart diseases. The point is that you are destined for it. Because of that, if you were doing all those things, instead of coming to me at the age of 60 or 65, you would have landed at the age of 35.

So this is the very point you mentioned a little while ago, right? We might be able to slow it down, but it is bound to happen.

Q: So for the next part, you know, I just want to elaborate a little bit. You know, now, if you talk about the younger population, youth, it’s a time of a lot of call centre jobs or night jobs. And even the corporate industry is full of, you know, the timings, the fact that they work extensively towards the VRs, a lot of pressure, and all that. And, and there’s also a time where, you know, a lot of publicity or advertisement is done on better sleep, you know, companies selling mattresses, sleeping gadgets, et cetera. And there’s a lot of talk about the circadian rhythm as well, you know, regarding the time of the sleep, day, night, and also sleeping less, et cetera.

So are there any thumb rules or recommendations for improving habits, or, like you said, you know, sleep hardest? So are there any patterns or quality sleep-enhancing

Dr. There are multiple ways. See, everyone has a different way of restressing himself. Someone listens to music, someone goes for a walk, someone shouts, and someone does gardening. So you have to see what you have to do; there is no hard-and-fast rule for it.

Interviewer: Find your trigger, right?

Dr. Find your trigger. And secondly, most people try to choose: we’ll have booze, and then we’ll have a good sleep. That is a very bad notion. I tell you that alcohol after a certain limit hampers sleep rather than inducing sleep. So the whole thing, you know, is that I’ll have my two pegs of whisky. Yeah. That is the worst thing. You don’t have proper sleep once you have whisky.

Q: What is this whole talk about, you know, circadian rhythms? Why? As a result, social media began.

Dr. I tell you, the band orchestra is sitting in our brain, which is called the pituitary gland.

Which is per se dictated by a sleeping pattern. Like, we have jet lag and all that. Similarly. So because our brain sends the signal, the moment we get up depends on the sunlight. So that is called the circadian rhythm.

Q: So I want to ask: does that contribute to the increased risk of heart disease as of today?

Dr. Yes. If you don’t have a proper repair, you don’t have a proper sleep. Okay. You tend to be hypertensive. So there is an entity called sleep apnea syndrome. Sleep apnea should not cause. So what happens is that there is a decreased oxygen supply to the brain. Okay. The brain sends the signal to the heart that I am not getting oxygen.

The heart knows only one thing: either I increase the pulse rate or I increase the blood pressure. So more oxygen will go. So it causes hypertension.

Q: So, doc, what I’m asking this very in detail is, you know, even the students, young students who are studying in school, right now, just with the advent of these mobile phones, most of the children are on the phone throughout the night and they’re chatting with their friends throughout the day. And then they sleep in the morning hours, right?

It has become increasingly difficult, sometimes even to wake them up in the morning.

We have also been featured in our lifestyle sections. We have been receiving a lot of letters from worried parents, you know, to get some information on this idea. So, and then, when we researched these things, this particular terminology of circadian rhythm also popped up.

And that is the reason I asked, especially for the youth and for the children, what we need to do as parents or for them themselves.

Dr. See, this is the most important thing. Circadian rhythm, they can change it. But you have to get proper rest. That can be, you know, a thumb rule for them. You know, you need to rest, but you also need to sleep harder.

See, there are so many things they say: don’t watch the screen, don’t drink coffee after eight, take a warm or lukewarm water bath before going to sleep, and wash your feet.

When we were kids, there were grandparents who used to say, Close your eyes for one minute or two minutes and do a prayer. These were their triggers for good sleep. Good sleep. See, what we are, we try to not listen to our grandparents and all that. At times, the things they used to say were the golden rule. That benefited them. And right now, they are getting diseased at an older age, and we are getting diseased at an earlier age.

Interviewer: So, you mean to say that the wisdom passed on to the generations is something we need to go back and revisit again, right?

Dr. Right.

Q: And, and continuing on the whole idea of, you know, some activities, can you suggest some small tips or basic activities to keep your heart healthy? You know, during this busy lifestyle, we have a few activities that we should or would be able to do.

Dr. I can tell you the basics.

Most of the guys either go on their bikes or vehicles to the office. Try to park it at the farthest. Okay. Avoid lifts in the offices. If you want to go to the loo, use the loo, which is on one floor, lower or upper.

Interviewer: Oh, that’s a fantastic suggestion.

There are intermittent coffee breaks and all that. Most of the guys, once they come down, have a cigarette in their hand and a cup of black coffee. All of these induce high blood pressure. So this has become, I would say, a fashion trend that a guy who doesn’t have a coffee, a black coffee in his hand, and a cigarette in his hand is not trendy.

Interviewer: And largely, India has been a tea-drinking nation. Coffee has picked up very well of late.

I don’t mind; see, I love both tea and coffee. That is my distinct. It is not about tea or coffee. It is about the quantity, and it is about when you have a relaxing time.

Try to close your eyes. Try to listen to music. Try to talk about something productive instead of smoking. You can have fresh juice. You can have a fruit break. You can have a salad break instead of a tea break or a coffee break.

Interviewer: And I think the companies should also try to introduce these kinds of breaks, such as tea or coffee breaks, fruit breaks, or salad breaks.

Q: And that also reminds me to ask you, you know, because most of the people are staying away from home. And can you suggest some healthy cooking habits or some healthy foods, you know, that can be nutritious and flavorful? Like you earlier said, you know, all the colours on your palate, you know, on your plate. So can you suggest a few healthy cooking techniques or dishes?

People across the globe. And if you can keep that in mind, you know, the people of Indian origin all over the world, how can they keep that in mind?

Dr. I can just give you an example, which is cooking and having a, I would say, deep-fried thing in olive oil. Or any vegetable oil. Is it equally good or equally bad? Olive oil is meant to be on salad. It has to be eaten raw. It is not like how we use refined oil, you know, where we can fry things up, right?

Regarding fitness, they go to the gym and all that. Yeah. I’ll come to that point also, because I also want the young generation to know it. They are eating 40 eggs and whey protein. These are all not good.

We are not meant for 40 eggs. There are other ways to have good proteins. Seafood, cheese. We have quinoa. We have fruits. We have the white of an egg. We can have six eggs with the yellow in a week. But not 40. Excess of anything is bad.

Nuts. These are good. Don’t eat processed food. Right now, what they say is that we have a preserved paratha as well. You want to have a paratha, but get it cooked instantly. Don’t eat stale food. The amount of ghee that should be added when you pour that vegetable or whatever else is on your plate or platter should not be sprinkled all over your plate. That is the amount of adequate oil or ghee you should be having.

South Indian; he wants the idli in the morning. It’s good for him. A North Indian wants a paratha. Don’t overcook that paratha. If you have fried it, don’t put butter on it. Otherwise, avoid fried paratha or anything a little bit fried. It should not be in excess, which means the oil should not be dipping once you take out that fried paratha from that.

So multiple, see, we have to realise we are Dal, Roti, and Sabji guys. We are not pizza, pasta, and burger guys.

Q:So on the food part as well, in India, we also consume a lot of alcohol and all those things. And like we earlier discussed, two pegs are enough to sleep, etc. So excessive consumption of alcohol does impact our health. So are there any guidelines for moderate alcohol intake?

Dr. Yeah. Previously, the guidelines used to be 50 ml. But now the latest recommendation from the WHO, the World Health Organisation, is no alcohol, zero alcohol, zero alcohol, and zero tobacco.

Stay away from alcohol. If I say it lightly on any platform, no one is going to listen to me on the next talk. And if I invite someone for a lecture, even the doctors won’t. If I say that if I put on an event or conference where there is no alcohol, no one is going to come and listen to my lecture,.

Interviewer: Alcohol must be present at any party or event that we host. You know what wine you’re going to serve before food, during food, and after food, as well as the liquors and spirits.

Currently, they, like the majority of my acquaintances, are occupied with the creation of exquisite bars within their residence. You know, even though they may not take it, they would love to entertain their friends and anybody coming in for a bar.

So I would put it in quotes to “stay away from alcohol.”

I just also want to talk about things like, for example, staying away from alcohol, et cetera. But once in a while, you go on vacation, holidays, or something. So, so like, can they indulge a bit on these things and how, on what all they can do and cannot do?

Dr. The crux of life is moderation. There are honeymoon periods.

Interviewer: Even if you are on vacation or travelling, even if you indulge, try to keep it to the minimum in moderation so that you enjoy the other things, but try to be more and more healthy in your approach.

Dr. That is, that is where we actually go for vacation.

Interviewer: And most importantly, since the beginning of our interview, you mentioned apps, gadgets, and all those things. A lot of things have come. Smartphones are flooded with these things.

Dr. So I will tell you how it is. It is both a way of serving and helping us. First, it helps us track. So there is a rule that came along, okay? How did this rule of 10,000 come up? Do you know how it came?

Interviewer: No, I don’t know. Please tell me.

Dr. Okay. So it was that they found out that the person who has practiced anything for 10,000 minutes or 10,000 of this thing became an expert on it.

So what they said was that after Beethoven had finished his 10,000 minutes of training, the magnetism of that music, which was after that 10,000, was awesome. So for 10,000 steps, we say that if we are able to cover 10,000 steps in a day, it is great.

What happens is that our human mind is like that if we set a target. So it is inevitable that you are going to check it. So you will check your pulse rate, your saturation, and your steps. So now there are multiple AI-induced apps that get connected through any of your smartwatches to your phone. So there you go; what I say is target between nine and five. See, I have an operating job; everyone has a desk job.

What I say then is that between nine and five jobs, if they are sitting on them, they have a desk job. Try to move 150 steps every hour, every hour, every hour, 150 steps. Try to climb 10 flights of stairs daily and 10,000 steps. Minimum 45 minutes of brisk exercise, five times a week. Five times a week. It can be a brisk walk. See, everyone cannot have muscles like Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone.

And everyone is not designed; everyone cannot be a marathon runner; everyone cannot be a gym guy. So you have to choose your evil. What I say about exercise is that you have to choose yours. Yes. What should you be running? Yeah, that you have to see.

The second wrong concept is that yoga doesn’t cause cardio. Yoga, if you do it consistently, or even, I would say, the basic exercises, if you do 10 Surya Namaskar continuously, it’s equal to a cardio activity. Right now, there are multiple channels: the Shilpa Shakti channel, the Malaika Arora channel, and all that.

Yeah, anyone who wants to use whatever thing, whether it be brisk exercise or stretching exercise, should do it regularly. And before going in for heavy, yeah, that guy is lifting 180 deadlifts. On the first day you are coming, if you lift 180, you are going to break your back and your muscles.

Q: Yeah. So I just want to ask one more thing, like, nowadays, most of our friends have this smartwatch, etc. Furthermore, it is not uncommon to hear individuals exclaim, “Oh my God, my saturation is decreasing; my heart rate is increasing.” So does this over-monitoring also cause some problems with people?

Dr. Yeah, yeah. See, half-knowledge is more detrimental. Yes.

See, what I say is for Google; I’ve written that I’ve used this word, God’s only official guide to learning everything. So we have become Google doctors, we have become Google engineers, and we have become Google. It took me 14 years of medical schooling and superspecialization—12 to 14 years.

The point is, I still feel that I’m still learning. I’m telling you the truth. Still, I feel like I’m still learning. Everything you learn and I operated on a 27-year-old guy who used to go to the gym. I operated on a 40-year-old guy who is a vegetarian, has never smoked, never drank, has no family history, and cycles 10 kilometres daily.

So there are so many things. Second, I would say one thing: the COVID vaccination has not caused a heart attack. The COVID vaccination hasn’t caused an increased incidence of heart attacks. COVID: prolonged COVID can lead to sudden death.

Because of clot formation in anything. It is equivalent to a heart arrest, but coronary arteries cannot be blocked by the COVID vaccination. There can be clot formations, but COVID vaccination means, yes, COVID infection, prolonged COVID infection.

They have those patients who had a torrential course during COVID and who had a prolonged COVID illness; they should be on prolonged blood thinners. And by blood thinners, I don’t mean ecospirin. There are other blood thinners.

And secondly, what I feel is that whether it’s a gym or any place, there should be trained personnel to conduct cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Every place and every society should have certain emergency drugs and certain trained personnel. You cannot have doctors everywhere. There are certain paramedics, and you can choose some volunteers from the society itself.

This would be the initiative if we had to save young lives and all that. And let me think about it: there was someone taking my interview on that Garba dance and all that. They were fasting.

You are partying, and you are drinking. There are a number of things. Don’t combine things. Hydrate yourself. Take care of your hydration as well as your food. Enjoyment is different, but yes, you have to take care of other things.

Q: So, that almost, you know, brings to our set of questions this time. And I hope we will. You can give us a bit of time out of your business schedule again and again because people will never have enough questions.

You know, they would always have a lot of questions for you. And we would be very, very eager to ask you again. And I hope you get enough time to answer our queries in the future as well.

And as one last question, you know, now we Indians are officially 32 million people, Indian-origin people worldwide, the Indian diaspora. And, unofficially, we say it is almost 45 million. You know, the census has not been done for a long time. Largely, we are doing fantastically well in all spheres, whether it be in business leaders, political leaders, you know, scientific or academic, everywhere.

And largely, our success has been attributed to our culture, our orientation, and the way we were brought up. And out of all these things, we, as Indian-origin people, are also the largest contributors to the healthcare industry as of today, worldwide. You know, we have a lot of doctors, and we have been healing the world all around.

And our magazine and our website go to more than 18 countries worldwide. And what do you have to say to them as far as their hearts are concerned?

Dr. So what I say is that I use a mnemonic for it. ASAP.

Awareness. Screening, acknowledgement, and prevention.

So we ought to be aware of the red flags. With the basic test, we should do preventive health checkups.

Second, acknowledgement. We should address our disease and our symptoms. And prevent sudden deaths. And I say, we say that justice delayed is justice denied. So I would say treatment delayed is also treatment denied.

Interviewer: So thank you so much, Dr. Dhir. It has been wonderful speaking with you.

And I hope you may carry on healing more and more hearts around the globe. And as you have been busy, we have been trying to get in touch with you for some time now. 

And thank you so much for your time.

Dr. Thanks. Thanks.

Melwyn Williams

Melwyn is a renowned film actor, producer, writer and director in the Indian film Industry. He is a writer as well as a journalist. He has contributed immensely to the world of art, literature and cinema. He is the founder of LADAKH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, LIFF. He has been active in the film industry for more than two decades. Melwyn believes that AESTHETICS is the next big thing to be incorporated in all spheres of life and technology. Website

2 thoughts on “This Heart Surgeon’s Advice Will Make You Healthy

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