Heart problems can be avoided by life style modification, regular exercises, reduced fat intake, controlling blood pressure and diabetes if any, stopping smoking completely and take the life as it is One who has lived through a heart attack never forgets it � the tightness in the chest, the pain, the breathlessness, the cold sweat, and the nausea.... But the good news is that survivors can still lead a healthy, productive life, provided they make a few lifestyle changes. And more importantly, stick to them.
A heart attack is not a death sentence; it can be the beginning of a new life if unhealthy lifestyle practices are weeded out. Surprisingly, that doesn't happen. While heart patients are quick to follow doc's advice initially, 30% start taking it easy after a year and 80% go back to their bad old ways within five years. The more they get better, the more they relax. The fear factor is reduced.
No wonder 80% of families complain that the patient hardly listens to them. So doctors remind them of the day before the attack when everything seemed normal. Seeming fine is not a passport to sound health. An attack can happen again; around 10% of patients get another one within a year. Indians are anyway more predisposed to it. Some 25% of them will die of heart attacks; the mean age for heart attacks here is 10 years lower than in the West. Also, 50% die before reaching hospital.
For doctors, it's almost mandatory to call up patients every three months and remind them of check-ups. An exercise test is usually done between 4-6 weeks. Medications include beta-blockers, ACE-inhibitors and nitrates. Initially, the patient is made to walk in the house. After a week, he's asked to take regular walks. In uncomplicated cases, you should be back to your normal routine within 4-6 weeks; only the intensity of the treatment increases depending on risks and gender.
Heart patients should also use unsaturated fats. Mustard, groundnut, til and canola oils are good; avoid vanaspati ghee - it increases the bad cholesterol, while lowering the good one and can cause thrombosis. Don't fry oil too much as it changes composition. Avoid excess sugar and carbohydrates, including potatoes, white bread, fried sweets, bakery items and junk food.
Stress management is crucial too. De-stressing, be it yoga or meditation, reduces heart attacks by almost 25% the second time, psychological counseling is also vital. According to the Harvard Heart Letter, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often noticed. Depression affects one in four patients. Some are constantly alert for signs of an impending attack, such as a racing heart or shortness of breath. They also avoid activities that make the heart beat faster, such patients' feel vulnerable. They also tend to become emotional in the initial months. It's critical to address depression with specific treatment. Fortunately in India, close-knit family ties are a comforting factor. Stress is here to stay. But the way you handle it can make all the difference. That's the heart of the matter.
Heart problems can be detected by simple ECG (electro cardiogram), Echo Cardiography orTreadmill test (TMT). If any of these basic tests show any changes that person will be subjected for angiogram i.e injecting the dye into the coronary arteries and taking cine photographs. When patient is having ongoing heart attack with chest pain few blood tests will be of use.
Patient with coronary artery diseases has three treatment options
- Medical Treatment - treating with drugs
- Bypass Operation
- Angiogram is an investigative procedure to detect blockages of the coronary and peripheral arteries.
- Angioplasty is the Corrective procedure to dilate the artery with a balloon and / or implantation of stent.
- Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery (CABG) is a surgical procedure done to re-route the blood circulation to the heart.
CABG is a major heart surgery which needs thorough check up before surgery. Blood transfusion is required most of the times and recovery lasts for 1 month. It has a Mortality of 1-3% and can lead a quality life.
Open Heart operation is done to do repairs inside the heart like closing a hole, repair oblique replacement of the valve or reliving the stenosis.