Awareness is critical in preventing heart diseases
By Dr Balbir Singh
Heart being one of the most vital organs of the body has a major role to play. It pumps the oxygenated blood through the arteries and receives the de-oxygenated blood through the veins. Attributing to a plethora of factors (apart from hereditary reasons) like high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the blood vessels, high blood sugar levels, high cholesterol levels etc, the heart has to work harder to keep the blood circulation. When due to any reason, the effort put in by the heart increases, its efficiency gradually decreases, which is known as heart disease.
Cardiovascular diseases are one of the deadliest ailments in India having an approximate of one-fourth of the total deaths in the country. Since the COVID pandemic, cases/ mortality due to heart ailments have only been ignored. Being preventable in majority of the cases, yet the number of cases is increasing every day. Apart from affecting the geriatric population, poor and sedentary lifestyle, in addition to a stressful life has also triggered the onset of coronary artery disease (CAD) among the middle-aged population. While many of the people are ignorant of the symptoms, delayed diagnosis is one of the important causes of permanent morbidity leading to adverse events. It is thus advised for the public to get regular testing especially if one has a family history of diabetes, hypertension, heart ailments. Advanced treatment modules for complicated heart ailments have proven to have excellent outcomes and improved quality of life, and thus timely intervention is necessary.
Though there are no such medical evidence to prove the effect of COVID-19 on our heart health but people with pre-existing heart diseases have high vulnerability to the infection. Attributing to the lowered immunity and decreased speed of body response to tackle inflammation, with increased age along with viral myocarditis to some extent are the major factors for heart patients especially amid the pandemic.
Not every heart disease patient has the same symptoms and angina chest pain as its most common feature. Symptoms may vary from nil to severe. Some have just a mild, uncomfortable feeling similar to indigestion, others may experience a painful feeling of heaviness or tightness, usually in the centre of the chest, which may spread to the arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach, palpitation and unusual breathlessness.
It’s important to be aware of early symptoms of heart attack since early diagnosis of these could lead to early treatment and good outcome; the presence of chest heaviness and uneasiness or breathing difficulty are very important to be addressed by meeting a doctor.
High blood pressure contributes to ever-increasing burden of heart disease leading to heart failure with premature mortality and disability. However, following a healthy and natural diet which mainly consist fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, nuts grams and low-fat dairy products can help in maintaining high blood pressure and reducing the risk of further complications. To boost up the immunity one should take extra dose of Anti Oxidants, Vitamin C, Haldi, Amla, Tulsi, eat plenty of vegetables, salads and fruits.
Walking is one of the simplest exercises one can do. This can be clubbed with basic stretching exercises along with yoga and meditation on daily basis for atleast half an hour.
The only and the easiest way to prevent heart failure is avoiding the lifestyle and food habits that encourage obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure. Heart Failure or Cardio Vascular disease refers to the fact that your heart is not as healthy as it should be. You have to take better care of it for better functioning. Most of the countries have heart disease as the major one killing people. But the best part is that you can prevent it with a healthy lifestyle.
The writer is Chairman, Cardiac Sciences, Max Hospital, Saket