Dil Ka Doctor

Dr Sai Satish

MBBS, MD (General Medicine), D.M (Cardiology)

11 min read

We often forget that our hearts are not just made for falling in love, our hearts also help us stay alive and healthy too. All of us know the secrets to a healthy and strong heart lie in the positive changes we make in our lifestyle – a balanced diet and regular exercise can go a long way. But then, how many times have we really applied this to our lives? Keeping that in mind, we may know that binging on junk food isn’t the best choice for our health, but we still go ahead and dig into that bucket of fried chicken! To set things straight, we have Dr Sai Satish, Apollo Hospitals’ Dil-ka-doctor who shares his personal experiences, fitness mantras and tips on how we can come out stronger and healthier during, and after this pandemic. So, let the heart games begin!

Rapid Fire with Dr Sai Satish

What is UR diet like?
The simple thing is to eat as many meals as you can in a day. Eat just enough to feel good at the moment, but make you feel hungry after two hours. This is my trick to keep the metabolism fully-fired.

Dr Sai Satish’s Diet

As soon as I wake up (7 am): 5 almonds soaked in water overnight
Breakfast (8 am): 3 – 4 idlis with ghee, sambar or nallakaram
Mid-morning snack (2 hrs later – 10 am): Tender coconut water with the meat of the coconut
Lunch (1 pm): 2 fistfuls of rice and 1 fistful of meat or veggies
Evening snack (5 pm): Murukku with green tea
Dinner (7 pm): Curd rice with omelette and sabji on the side

Five Fab Indian Foods We Must Eat For A Healthy-Heart
Most of our wisdom has already been passed down to us from our ancestors. We have fabulous indigenous foods high in antioxidants. You’d be surprised to know that ghee is now emerging as a super-food!

Five Heart-Healthy Indian Foods

  1. Ghee
  2. Garlic
  3. Turmeric
  4. Ginger
  5. Onion

Bonus: Once a week, try and eat every color you see in nature.

The basic rule is to eat what you are used to eating. Eat what your grandparents and parents have been telling you to eat. The “Indian Thali” is a fabulous meal! It has 50% of grains, 35% of meats & veggies and 15% of papads & pickles. To me, this is the perfect recipe for good digestion.

Many people have a misconception that if they ate like this, they would become fat. It’s a myth!

Your lean body mass is your greatest asset, so your goal should be to increase it (muscle and bone density). Your muscle is your most efficient fat burning machine. Eat what you’re comfortable eating as your primary food. For example, if you are used to eating rotis, then eat rotis. If you are used to eating rice, then eat rice. There is no point in demonizing rice or roti. You don’t need to switch to or add fancy foods like kale.

However, if your grandparents ate burgers, you should be more conscious and mindful by choosing the healthy foods your grandparents should have eaten, minus the burgers!

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Food Myths That Affect UR Heart

Myth: Eating too much rice is bad for you!
Fact: No. Rice is a fabulous source of carbohydrates. If you are used to eating rice, it’s not bad for you.

Let’s take ghee as an example. People have demonized ghee as an unhealthy fat for years. Today, ghee has emerged as a super-food, as I said earlier. It has so many amino acids, and it’s good for UR heart as well. Like the Indian maxim goes, anything in excess, even if it’s amrutam (elixir of life) is poison.

Is drinking a glass of wine good for UR heart?

Any form of alcohol is bad for you. But I like my alcohol. There! I’ve said it!

Bear in mind that with moderation, one can drink alcohol and still be out of harm’s way. The younger you are, the more relaxed you can afford to be.

I call it “The Rule Of Tens.”

There are things that you can do in UR ’20-’30s, which you shouldn’t do when UR 30-40, and 40-50. By 50, you should give-up drinking so you can reach a glorious 100.

There’s a beautiful study on habits that made people centenarians, and giving up alcohol is one of them. If UR used to drinking one glass of wine or 30 ml of whisky every day, I don’t think it will harm you. It may help you relax, but not many of us are people with enough discipline to control our urges and temptations. We go partying and end up having a few drinks (myself included!). My logic used to be that if I have to drink only 30ml of alcohol, I would rather not drink at all. My favorite thing was telling people, as a cardiologist, I have the right to prescribe alcohol. I’ll prescribe you UR drinks.

Why has that changed now? When you start working out, you realize that alcohol slows down muscle building and protein synthesis. The key for you to stay slim and look healthy is to have lean muscle.

For UR body to build muscle, you workout. We are all aware of that beautiful pain after our workout sessions. This signifies the damage you have done to muscle fibers by working out, that your body will now have to repair by using protein, and alcohol slows this process of rebuilding drastically.

So, what I do is, the day I drink, I don’t exercise, and I don’t exercise the day after that either. Ever since I’ve started following this, I’ve had zero injuries. The quarantine period is not a holiday period, so for anyone who is drinking every day, I strongly advise them to cut down or stop.

There are things that you can do in UR ’20-’30s, which you shouldn’t do when UR 30-40, and 40-50. By 50, you should give-up drinking so you can reach a glorious 100. There’s a beautiful study on habits that made people centenarians, and giving up alcohol is one of them.

What are the COVID protocols that you, as a doctor, are maintaining at home?

I haven’t caught a cold in ten years! It’s because I follow two simple rules:

  • I never touch my face with my hands
  • I never touch or eat any food without my hands being washed or sanitized

No matter what I’m doing, my hands will never touch my face, and I never catch a cold. So, it is just a little extension of that with COVID. The first thing I did at home is,

Informed all my staff to stay in-house and assured them that I would look after them the best I can. No going home and coming back. Whoever could work in-house stayed. Those who couldn’t be returned to their respective homes.

Only necessary people can come inside the house. A virus is most deadly when it is new. We are all going to become COVID positive at some point, but the later we become COVID positive, the healthier we can be. So, the trick is to stay away from the virus as long as you can.
Restrict and limit yourself in the beginning so that you can ease off towards the end. The government is doing a fabulous job, and we just have to run with it.

5 Symptoms Of A Heart attack/Stroke

Globally the number of heart attacks has come down. Multiple things have made this possible. People are less stressed, they are staying at home, smoking less, eating healthy food, and they have become more mindful because they are home. So, the global heart attack rate has dropped drastically across the country.

Coming back to UR question, the symptoms of a heart attack and stroke can be varied and diverse.

  1. Tightness in UR chest, like someone, has forcefully put their knee on UR chest and you can’t get it off.
  2. Choking sensation in UR throat
  3. Sweating and lightheadedness
  4. Pain radiating in UR left arm
  5. Jaw pain

Nothing is typical today. It is better to treat any uneasiness/symptoms like it’s a heart attack than ignore it. To avoid going to the hospital because COVID might kill you, for a heart attack that will definitely kill you, is stupidity.

We, at hospitals, are more mindful of COVID than you are as a patient. We all want one less COVID patient to treat, so we are all the more careful that you don’t fall sick.

If you are in doubt, don’t take a group of people to the hospital. Go with one person and get yourself checked. Treat any uneasiness in the chest like a heart attack, rather than treating it as a gastric issue. Better to be safe than sorry.

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What should the patient or a family member do in case of an emergency?

If there is an emergency at home, don’t wait or waste time. If you have someone who can drive, and if you feel you will reach the hospital faster than an ambulance, then get into the car and make UR way to the hospital. The key is to make it to the hospital you trust.

Don’t do or give the patient anything, because they can choke on water or if you give them Sorbitrate, it might drop her/his blood pressure. Just get UR family member to the hospital ASAP. That is the only mantra I want you to remember – single-minded focus to get to the ER in the hospital.

If unfortunately, the person stops breathing then give the patient 50 – 60 compressions on their chest every 30 seconds until you reach the hospital. If you have an AED machine in the house and know how to use it, try and revive the person. This machine doesn’t cost much, and it is good to have in the house if there are senior citizens living there. But the key, as I’ve said before, is to get the patient to the hospital.

Why is it important for doctors to be on social media?

My passion is to make sure as many people as possible DO NOT need me! To put it simply, all the technology and infrastructure which has been built and all the skills I’ve mastered over the years should be made redundant by looking after UR health. I want you to become more conscious about making yourself healthy, rather than seeking a better expert to look after you when you are sick. This can only be achieved by reaching out to the greatest number of people possible in a day, and that’s what social media does for me. No matter how hard I work, I can only see a limited number of people at the hospital.

5 simple rules of life

  1. The less you eat, the longer you live
  2. The more you walk, the longer you live
  3. The more you laugh, the longer you live
  4. Sleep at least 7-8 hours a day
  5. And go for a health check every year

Carve out 10 minutes in a day for something that you love and enjoy doing the most. Take that time to read a Tinkle or an Astrix comic.

Meet friends at least once a week. So many studies say that the people who meet friends regularly live longer than the people who don’t. Make good friends and once a year, don’t forget to get a health check. Check UR sugar, blood pressure and stay healthy.

Did you know that 70 percent of all diseases which can kill you are in UR hands to prevent? Don’t worry about the things you can’t change, like if UR Indian you will die sooner or if UR a diabetic UR going to die sooner. Boohoo, so what? Change what you can. Stop smoking. Laugh, eat right, workout and have fun!

Are doctors insecure about nutritionists and can doctors prescribe diets?

I have no business prescribing a diet. But, what I can tell you to do is that you have to eat right. If you have someone who is dedicated to teaching you how to eat right, then they’re making my job easier! I should be grateful to them and not feel threatened. There is no place on this planet anymore for insecure doctors.

You, as a patient or as a concerned loved one, have the right for a second opinion. If UR doctor is insecure about it, then you may need to change UR doctor. It is UR, birthright. Every doctor should realize – the biggest honor anyone can do is bring someone they love and hand them over to you for care. UR not doing a patient any favors and there is no room for insecurity. If a nutritionist is making your job easy, you should tip your hat to her/him and thank them, instead of disagreeing with them.

As a doctor, my job is to heal people from diseases, and a nutritionist’s job is to help people stay healthy. The key is to hold a nutritionist hand-in-hand and walk the grey areas. Not compete for that place. You (nutritionist) fix everybody, so they don’t come to me (cardiologist), and if they slip by you, then I will take care of them. That’s how I look at it!