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Importance of timely treatment and management of underlying heart diseases

Noida, May 12, 2020: Heart diseases are a leading cause of death in India. Common causes for their rising incidence include unhealthy lifestyle choices, increasing stress levels, a sedentary lifestyle, and the presence of other comorbidities. As the entire world fights the COVID-19 pandemic, heart patients must take extra care since they are at a higher risk of complications arising out of the ailment and have a weaker immune system. If you are at a high risk of heart ailments or are living with one, it is important to ensure treatment compliance, monitor vitals regularly, stay in constant touch with your doctor, eat a balanced and healthy diet and stay active. Since COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that can put extra pressure on your heart to pump oxygen-rich blood to all the organs; building one’s immunity and taking precautions is key.

Speaking about this, Dr. Amitabh Yaduvanshi, Head of Cardiac Cathlab, Holy Family Hospital, New Delhi, “People with heart conditions should remain extra vigilant amidst the Coronavirus outbreak and ensure that they adhere to their medication schedules and stay in constant touch with their doctors. Some common medications used to treat high blood pressure, heart failure, etc., such as ACE-i and ARBs must not be stopped unless done so in consultation with the treating doctor. Engage in light physical activity and take all precautions while at home. Maintain a safe distance from anyone with flu-like symptoms and cover your face with a mask.”Adding further, Dr. Yaduvanshi, said, “Timely treatment must be sought for heart ailments as a delay can cause complications. Be aware of symptoms like chest pain, breathlessness, sweating, giddiness, and loss of consciousness. If you experience any of these, seek medical attention immediately.”

In people who develop complications such as an acute heart attack, it is imperative to provide immediate treatment in the form of angioplasty to minimize or avoid damage to the heart muscles. Angioplasty is used to restore and improve blood flow. A long, thin tube (catheter) is inserted into the narrowed part of the artery. A thin wire mesh (Stent) mounted on a deflated balloon is then passed through the catheter to the narrowed area. The balloon is inflated, compressing the deposits against the artery walls, and leaving expanded stent embedded in the artery. Drug-eluting stents release medication to help heal the stressed arteries post-procedure. Few drug-eluting stents are USFDA approved and well-studied for safe use in patients with complications such as diabetes, high bleeding risk, or in patients who might have to interrupt medication a month after angioplasty.

Some other precautions that people with heart diseases can take include:

  • Consume a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and moderate amounts of low-fat dairy and lean meats.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking
  • Stay active by doing at least 30 minutes of light physical activity every day.
  • Keep a check on your vital signs such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and sugar.
  • Manage stress by undertaking activities that will help you relax and unwind.
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