By Dr. Jyotirmaya Dash, Senior Consultant - Interventional Cardiologist The heart a very important structure to our body. It is a selfless organ, pumping about 4 - 5 litres of blood every millisecond, 24/7, 365 days a years with no respite serving all parts of the body. Heart attack is the primary cause of deaths. It is no longer a disease for the old and even younger individuals as young as 25 can be vulnerable.
Although anyone can get a heart attack, genetics can influence an individual’s susceptibility to suffer from heart attack should any member from their immediate family have experienced a similar concern. It is imperative to be cautious if the family member suffered from a heart attack at a younger than normal age. For such individuals, it is prudent to take precautionary measures and inculcate a lifestyle that will maintain good heart health. These can include in aspects of their diet, being mindful of the nutritional intake, physical exercise and incorporating regular checks of their heart health.
For individuals with existing diabetic or blood pressure concerns, it is advisable for them to keep these diseases under control as well. Keeping a check on the ingredients used in foods is also recommended.
Smoking and diet patterns contribute greatly to poor heart health. In today’s generation, personal or professional stress, high BP / cholesterol, diabetes and obesity contribute to an unhealthy heart.
Some individuals exhibit no symptom prior to a heart attack. It can come without any warning. However, there are some who experience chest pain while walking / breathing difficulty which may go while resting, unusual sweating, uneasiness in the throat, burning sensation in the stomach, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and are recommended to take a moment to get the heart check. The symptoms are different depending on the arteries involved.
Annuals checks are the way to go here. If you have a family history of heart issues or above 30 years of age, it is recommended for anyone to undergo annual check up to access their heart strength. An ECG can give a quick preview into the heart. There are others tests like ECHO, Treadmill Test, and various blood tests including cholesterol that can help determine heart health. Keeping blood pressure and diabetic in checks will also help.
Cardiology has evolved over the last few years due to extensive research. We no longer need to open up patient’s entire chest to understand what problems the heart is undergoing. High tech imaging and minimally invasive procedures allows us to visualise and quickly diagnose any blocked vessels easily to place stents. TAVI / TAVR has become a popular and safe procedure when it comes to non surgical treatment of aortic valve disease. It is done through the leg without opening the chest.
Not all chest pains are heart attacks and some heart attacks come silently.
The ‘Mecca of Medicine’, Fortis Hospital has enriched the lives of many Chennaites, and has earned a reputation of delivering world-class healthcare services at their modern facilities.