Heart disease has become one of the major causes of death in India. With proper awareness & by working on the controllable risk factors like diet, physical activity, and stress it can be prevented to an extent. Here are some important points on heart disease shared by Dr. Zainulabedin Hamdulay, a leading cardiac Surgeon in Mumbai India.
What are the main risk factors for heart diseases?
Some of the most common risk factors for heart ailments include high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, obesity, second-hand smoking/passive smoking, use of tobacco, lack of exercise, family history, sedentary lifestyle etc. These might not always directly cause heart ailments but might aggravate the extent of the same consideration.
What are some of the most common symptoms of a heart attack?
The symptoms of a heart attack vary from person to person. However, the most common symptoms are as follows:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest heaviness
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Pain that radiates to the arm, jaw or throat
What is meant by sudden cardiac arrest?
The sudden cardiac arrest is the condition in which the heart suddenly stops beating and working. As a result, the blood is unable to move to the vital organs in the body. The brain is also included in the list of the organs.
How frequently should checkups be done for heart patients?
It is recommended to be in regular touch with your physician and cardiologist when you have a heart patient at home. The cardiologist will suggest the frequency in which the tests need to be done and what medications to be taken to be in a healthy state. Follow the instructions in full and you can lead a happy and healthy life. In case of any problems, contact the cardiologist immediately.
Is it true that people are born with heart diseases?
Yes, many people are born with heart ailments. Congenital heart defects and ailments are present right from the time of birth. Some of the most common kinds of such defects include abnormal development of heart valves, heart muscles etc. In many people, there are problems in the blood vessels which carry blood to and from the heart. Thousands of infants are born annually with congenital heart ailments.
Is there is a link between stress and heart disease?
Yes, there is definitely a close connection between stress and heart disease. When a person is highly stressed, the heart rate and blood pressure both tend to increase. When a person suffers from chronic stress, the body is in constant ‘fighting’ mode. This puts lots of strain on the heart causing heart problems and ailments.
How smoking affects risks of heart diseases?
There is no doubt that smoking increases the risks of heart diseases significantly. This is because the lining of the blood vessels is damaged by smoking. This increases chances of coronary artery spasms and blood clotting. Blood pressure is also raised with smoking along with increasing heart rate. Quitting smoking decreases chances of strokes and heart attacks within just a few days.
How is a heart condition diagnosed?
Generally, people ignore the initial symptoms which are related to heart conditions. But whenever you find any kind of abnormality or discomfort, visit your general physician. The physician will do a complete checkup and refer to a cardiologist if he feels necessary. He will also ask to get some tests done for diagnosing the heart condition. Most of the tests are non-invasive in nature. Some of the most common ones include chest X-ray, ECG, Echocardiogram, blood tests checking cholesterol and triglyceride levels etc. for further and higher investigations, MRI of the heart, angiography might also be suggested.
When is bypass surgery recommended?
Coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) is a surgical procedure through which normal blood flow is restored to the heart by making a different route. When the coronary artery or multiple arteries which carries blood are damaged in a way that repairing them will not bring in many desirable results, bypass surgery is recommended by the cardiologist. A cardiac surgeon carries out the surgery under complete anesthesia.
Will taking medicines and exercising eliminate the risk of heart diseases and attacks?
No, risks of heart diseases cannot be eliminated completely. However, taking the right kinds of medications and following a strict diet and exercise routine can definitely minimize the risks associated with heart ailments and attacks. Exercising definitely helps in keeping blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control. But never stop taking medications for these problems on your own. Always consult your cardiologist and get regular checkups done to know the present condition.
How much time does it take to recover after a heart attack?
The extent of heart damage due to heart attack varies from person to person. The time taken for recovery depends upon the extent of the damage. If the damage is higher, the treatment time is longer for the patient to become stable and the need to stay in the hospital is also extended.
When is the heart transplant recommended?
There are many times when no medications or other kinds of heart treatments work for patients as the heart damage is beyond control. In such situations, there is no other alternative left than going for the heart transplant. In this procedure, a new heart is transplanted in place of the damaged heart. There might be various kinds of complications in the process as a foreign object is transplanted in another body. The patient is informed about all the risks associated with the process in advance.
The heart is on the most important organ of the body. There are some factors which you can control & prevent heart disease. Do a routine check-up regularly to know the condition of your heart. Make exercise a part of your daily routine and eat a heart-healthy diet.