The death toll due to heart attacks in India is continuously increasing. About 2.25 lakhs Indians have died due to heart attacks in 10 years. Coronary artery disease is the most common form of heart disease and the most common cause of heart failure. Indians are affected by high rates of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, and smoking. These are major risk factors for cardiac disease.
Dr. Sanjeev Gera is Director and HOD Cardiology at Fortis hospital, Noida. For the past 28 years, he has been working in this field.
Nowadays, heart attacks in the younger population especially after COVID is seen very much. Heart failure is a condition when the heart is not able to pump enough blood as per the demands of our body organs. It can be because of a variety of diseases. For example, a heart attack if left untreated can lead to heart failure. With age, when heart muscles get weak, they are not able to pump enough blood as per the body’s requirements. This also leads to heart failure.
Dr. Sanjeev states, “Heart failure can be systolic or diastolic. If the efficiency factor of the heart is below 50%, it is called systolic failure. And if it is above 50%, it is diastolic heart failure. In systolic, the heart is not able to pump enough blood, and in diastolic, the heart is not able to fill properly thereby hindering the pumping mechanism.”
Signs and symptoms of heart failure
- Extreme fatigue
- Shortness of breath, breathlessness
- Swelling of lower limbs
Dr. Sanjeev informs, “Firstly. We should be aware of the risk factors for heart failure. Then only we can prevent them.”
Genetics – Indians are responsible for early heart disease. Our arteries are smaller as compared to the western population. Higher levels of cholesterol or plaque deposition cause early heart diseases.
High blood pressure
High cholesterol – High bad cholesterol and low good cholesterol
Obesity (high BMI)
Insulin resistance is responsible for atherosclerosis. Premature thickening of arteries causes high BP and elevated cholesterol.
Diagnosis of heart diseases
Dr. Sanjeev says, “The scoring system tells us the category in which the patients fall and then we suggest them the tests.”
Some common tests are
- Cholesterol levels are to be checked once a year.
- Regular sugar levels, BP monitoring
- Stress test (Treadmill test)
- CT angiography
Who is at utmost risk?
Individuals having genetics of heart disease, obesity, high BP, diabetes, high BMI, high cholesterol levels, and heavy smokers are at increased risk of heart disease.
Heart attack and cardiac arrest
In a heart attack, the heart is still beating but one part of the heart is not functioning. While in cardiac arrest there is a complete stoppage of heart functions. Heart attacks can lead to cardiac arrest.
Dr. Sanjeev emphasizes, “If any person falls down from cardiac arrest, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique useful in such medical emergencies. CPR involves chest compression, opening the airway, and mouth-to-mouth breathing. Effective CPR within a few minutes can revive the patient and can save a life.”
“Cardiac arrest can happen due to many reasons. Cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) and even heavy exercises can cause cardiac arrest. Depending on the risk factors, exercises or regimes are being decided to prevent cardiac arrest.”
1. Does white rice increase the risk of heart failure?
There is no direct link between the two. But high white rice consumption can lead to diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol which can further cause heart disease.
2. Does excessive running lead to heart failure?
Excessive running in a healthy individual doesn’t cause heart failure. However, if a person is having silent blockages in the heart then excessive running can definitely cause heart failure.
3. Can stress cause heart failure?
Stress exaggerates the risk factors of heart disease.
(Edited by Renu Gupta)