Regular health check-ups are necessary to maintain your heart health
Heart failure is the gradual weakening of heart muscle that is often confused with a heart attack. People often proudly say that during their life of 70 years, they have not visited a doctor once. This common mistake made by a significant majority results in a delay in the diagnosis of the disease which could have been treated by minor interventions but may now require surgery. According to estimates, there are almost 8-10 million heart failure patients in the country, and the mortality rate is more than 20%. In India, patients are ten years younger than the global average.
https://fb.me/e/1zOwEyOJ6 Beat Heart Failure, an initiative by the Times of India in partnership with Novartis, aims to spread knowledge about heart failure and key pillars of its management. The campaign primarily strives to educate people about seeking doctors' advice on time and the importance of regular treatment and right lifestyle modifications in managing heart failure. It focuses on the aspect that heart failure is preventable and treatable.
Mr. Anil Vinayak, Group Chief Operating Officer, Fortis Healthcare said – “In order to identify, manage and treat heart failure, which affects a little over 1% of India’s population, mass awareness initiatives like this one are crucial. Cardiology & Cardiovascular Sciences is a Centre of Excellence at Fortis Healthcare and expert doctors at our facilities across the country offer treatments and care in line with international benchmarks. As knowledge partners in the Beat Heart Failure campaign, they have touched upon several minute aspects of heart failure – from medical management to surgical interventions, focusing on empowering people with easy-to-understand information.” In this endeavour, doctors from Fortis Hospital, Noida joined hands to spread awareness - 1. Dr Ajay Kaul: Chairman, Fortis Heart & Vascular Institute, Noida 2. Dr Dheeraj Gandotra: Additional Director, Cardiology, Fortis Heart & Vascular Institute, Noida 3. Dr Sameer Arora: Director & Head - Cardiac Anesthesia & Cardiac Intensive Care, Fortis Heart & Vascular Institute, Noida Dr Kaul remarked that the heart is the strongest organ in the body. It continuously beats 80 times a minute for 80 years or more without rest. All other organs in the body get rest, but the heart is the only muscle at work while sleeping. Therefore, taking care of the heart is essential. One of the most common blunders by many patients is that they don't visit their doctors throughout their lives. Imagine owning a vehicle, and the amount of servicing it requires, almost annually. Similarly, our body needs constant checks to ensure it functions correctly. Getting tested and treated on time ensures that a person will not suffer heart failure.
Heart failure is the result, whereas a heart attack is the disease process when the blood supply to the heart is cut off and not managed on time, elaborated Dr Arora. Heart failure is terminal for all heart conditions. Coronary Artery diseases, Rheumatic Heart disease, Congenital Heart disease will not go into heart failure if treated on time.
Dr Gandotra added further about two types of heart failure depending on the ejection fraction. Ejection fraction is the amount of blood pumped by the heart. Ejection fraction may be low in cases with a history of heart attack or preserved with a problem in the ventricular filling. Valvular heart disease occurs when there is damage to one of the heart's four valves. They are the most easily avoidable heart disease, but lack of knowledge results in late detection and multiple hurdles during treatment.
Heart failure is a pandemic of sorts exclaimed Dr Gandotra. There is a massive increase in patients with heart failure in India compared to the rest of the world. If timely action is taken, cardiac failure is ninety percent preventable and treatable. If a person feels uneasy and believes their symptoms are like a heart attack, they can immediately go to the nearest health center. From tertiary health centers to primary health centers are now equipped to manage a heart attack and have been opened in a majority of the places in India. It is crucial to deal with a heart attack within the golden hour to reduce damage to the heart.
Common symptoms of heart failure are breathlessness, swelling in the legs, fatigue, which gradually increase as the disease progresses. The patients complain of chest pain squeezing in character or pain in the jaw. Patients with a known history of diabetes generally don't feel chest pain. Chest pain is a defense mechanism that makes a person visit their physician. A person mustn't ignore chest pain with heaviness or profuse sweating or giddiness or loss of consciousness, or a fluctuating heart rate. Dr. Kaul added that if a person had contracted Covid19 and is experiencing symptoms such as unusual chest pain, palpitation, postural hypotension, and unusual fatigue, they should not ignore them and visit a doctor.
Heart failure does not mean the end of life, said Dr Arora. Many advancements have been made in medical science, and treatment options have evolved. Patients with heart failure can live a near-normal life with the current treatment options. Primarily it begins with a change in lifestyle that includes - fluid restrictions, restricting alcohol, coffee, tea intake, No smoking & management of comorbidities such as diabetes or hypertension.
The cardiologist suggests a surgical option when neither lifestyle change nor medications work. Various Cardiac Resynchronization Therapies (CRT) or Cardiac Resynchronization devices are available explained Dr Arora. CRT helps the heartbeat a regular rhythm using a pacemaker to restore the heart's typical beating pattern. LVAD or Left ventricular assist devices are recommended if heart function is poor. LVAD can be thought of as an artificial heart. It is a pump that works the way a heart does. This device is connected to a battery outside the body. The advantage of LVAD includes mobilization of the patient without burden on the natural heart. Heart transplant is the final surgical option when nothing else works and is donor dependent. Excellent results are seen with heart transplants. However, proper care is required in terms of medicines.
The economic disease burden of the country is already high and delayed action makes the situation worse. However, new financial options are available for patients from different economic strata regarding medications and surgery at a highly competitive price, stated Dr Kaul. PM-JAY provides a cover of Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization across public and private empaneled hospitals in India.
The doctors at the panel offered time-tested advice for living a healthy life to avoiding unusual food intake, packaged food, and keeping away untested drugs. Prevention is the key. Most heart failures can be managed with early recognition and starting treatment and lifestyle modifications at the right time. Regular and timely follow-ups are essential.
Remember, heart failure isn’t about stopping. It’s about starting life in a new way. To know more about how to manage heart failure, visit https://www.toibeatheartfailure.com/blog Disclaimer: “The views and opinions expressed in the article by the panelists/experts are based on their independent professional judgement and are disseminated in public interest. These views should not be considered as a substitute for professional advice of a registered medical practitioner. The purpose of this article is not to promote any medical procedures or medication and/or recommend a certain doctor. For any specific health issues, please consult your registered medical practitioner.” PWR PWR