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Heart Health Awareness: Empowering Lives Through Early Detection

Heart Health Awareness: Empowering Lives Through Early Detection
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By: Dr Akhil Kumar Rustagi

The heart, a crucial organ in the body, plays a pivotal role by pumping oxygenated blood through the arteries and receiving deoxygenated blood through the veins. Various factors, including high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in blood vessels), elevated blood sugar, and high cholesterol levels, place increased demands on the heart, leading to reduced efficiency—a condition commonly known as heart attack.

In India, cardiovascular diseases rank among the most fatal health conditions, accounting for approximately one-fourth of total deaths in the country. Despite being largely preventable, cases of heart ailments have been on the rise.

Beyond affecting the elderly, poor lifestyle choices and a sedentary, stressful life have contributed to the emergence of coronary artery disease (CAD) among the middle-aged population. Lack of awareness about symptoms and delayed diagnosis often result in permanent morbidity, emphasizing the importance of regular testing, especially for individuals with a family history of diabetes, hypertension, or heart ailments.

Timely intervention with advanced treatment modalities has shown significant improvements in outcomes and quality of life.

Heart disease manifests differently in individuals, with angina chest pain being a common symptom. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort resembling indigestion to severe pain or tightness in the chest center, extending to the arms, neck, jaw, back, or stomach, accompanied by palpitations and breathlessness.

Early detection of heart attack symptoms is crucial for prompt treatment and positive outcomes. Chest heaviness, uneasiness, and difficulty breathing should be promptly addressed by consulting a doctor.

High blood pressure significantly contributes to the growing burden of heart disease, resulting in heart failure, premature mortality, and disability. Adopting healthy, natural diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, nuts, grams, and low-fat dairy products helps maintain blood pressure and reduces the risk of complications.

Boosting immunity through additional intake of antioxidants, Vitamin C, turmeric, amla, tulsi, along with a diet abundant in vegetables, salads, and fruits is advisable.

Incorporating simple exercises, such as walking, basic stretches, yoga, and meditation for at least half an hour daily, contributes to overall heart health.

The primary and easiest preventive measure against heart failure is avoiding lifestyle and dietary habits that promote obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Heart failure or cardiovascular disease signals that your heart requires better care for optimal functioning. While heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide, adopting a healthy lifestyle offers a promising means of prevention.

Cardiac centers routinely conduct Coronary angioplasty and Coronary artery bypass procedures. Addressing valvular heart issues involves performing Mitral balloon valvotomy and Heart valve replacements. Device closure for congenital heart defects, specifically ASD and VSD, is employed.

For Aortic valve disease, innovative technologies such as Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) offer treatment options for sick hearts. Mitra clip for repair of leakage in Mitral valve without open heart surgery has revolutionised the treatment. In selected cases, Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery serves as an alternative to conventional heart surgery, promoting faster patient recovery.

(The author is Head, Cardiac Sciences and CTVS, Yatharth Super Specialty Hospital, Greater Noida)

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