by Dr. Deepankar Vatsa

The heart being one of the most vital organs of the body has a major role to play. It pumps the oxygenated blood through the arteries and receives the deoxygenated blood through the veins. Attributing to a plethora of factors (apart from hereditary reasons) like high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the blood vessels), high blood sugar levels, high cholesterol levels, etc, the heart has to work harder to maintain blood circulation. When due to any reason, the effort put in by the heart increases, its efficiency gradually decreases leading to heart disease.

Cardiovascular diseases are one of the deadliest ailments in India having approximately one-fourth of the total deaths in the country. Since the COVID pandemic, cases/ mortality due to heart ailments have been relatively ignored. Being preventable in majority of the cases, yet the number of cases is increasing every day. Apart from affecting the geriatric population, poor and sedentary lifestyle, in addition to a stressful life has also triggered the onset of coronary artery disease (CAD) among the middle-aged population. While many of the people are ignorant of the symptoms, delayed diagnosis is one of the important causes of permanent morbidity leading to adverse events. It is thus advised for the public to get regular testing especially if one has a family history of diabetes, hypertension, or heart ailments. Advanced treatment modules for complicated heart ailments have proven to have excellent outcomes and improved quality of life, and thus timely intervention is necessary.

Not every heart disease patient has the same symptoms. Anginal chest pain is the most common symptom. Symptoms may vary from nil to severe. Some have just a mild, uncomfortable feeling similar to indigestion, others may experience a painful feeling of heaviness or tightness, usually in the center of the chest, which may spread to the arms, neck, jaw, back, or stomach, palpitation, and unusual breathlessness.

It’s important to be aware of early symptoms of heart attack since early diagnosis of these could lead to early treatment and good outcomes; the presence of chest heaviness and uneasiness or breathing difficulty are very important to be addressed by meeting a doctor.

High blood pressure contributes to the ever-increasing burden of heart disease leading to heart failure with premature mortality and disability. However, following a healthy and natural diet that mainly consists fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, nuts grams, and low-fat dairy products can help in maintaining normal blood pressure and reducing the risk of further complications. To boost up immunity one should take an extra dose of Anti Oxidants, Vitamin C, Haldi, Amla, Tulsi, eat plenty of vegetables, salads, and fruits.

Walking is one of the simplest exercises one can do. This can be clubbed with basic stretching exercises along with yoga and meditation on a daily basis for at least half an hour.

The only and easiest way to prevent heart failure is to avoid the lifestyle and food habits that encourage obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Heart Failure or Cardio Vascular disease refers to the fact that your heart is not as healthy as it should be. You have to take better care of it for better functioning. Most countries including ours have heart disease as the No. 1 killer. But the best part is that we can prevent it with a healthy lifestyle.

– Dr Deepankar Vatsa-Cardiology, Yatharth Super Specialty Hospital, Greater Noida.

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