Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pick up signs early, don’t wait too long...

Pick up signs early, don’t wait too long

PREVENTION Unexplained discomfort or change in pattern of activity needs to be taken seriously

NEW DELHI: Pain or discomfort in the chest may be the most commonly known signs of a heart attack. But health experts warn that not every person having a heart attack may experience this. And that is why it becomes imperative to be aware of the typical warning signs to pick up a heart attack before it strikes someone.
ARVIND YADAV/HTRegular exercises, yoga and dietary modifications help prevent fat deposition in blood vessels.
“Classic early signs of a heart attack are when a person feels some level of discomfort in the chest or otherwise while doing some activity that was earlier done with ease. The change in pattern, no matter how mild, spells trouble,” says Dr Naresh Trehan, cardiac surgeon and chairman, Medanta Hospital, Gurgaon.
Heart specialists especially warn those who are at a high risk of developing a heart attack. “People who have a family history of a heart attack, suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, have high cholesterol levels need to be doubly cautious,” said Dr Trehan.
In fact, any unexplained discomfort needs to be taken seriously: shoulder ache, compressed chest, and shortness of breath, just to name a few. Doctors say one must see a doctor if the symptoms recur.
“People have a habit of dilly-dallying and in the process losing precious time. I recently saw this 35-year-old man who was just minutes away from having a heart attack when he came to us. He mistook chest compression with gas and had been taking anti-acids for nearly a week,” said Dr Upendra Kaul, executive director and dean, cardiology, Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kumj.
Considering the age of heart attacks has come down to the late 20s nowadays, people should start preventive health check-ups as soon as they are 25 years old.
“Fat starts depositing in the blood vessels over a period of time; what one eats in childhood has a direct bearing on heart health as an adult. Parents should ensure the child takes part in sports activities in school and avoids regular consumption of junk food that is harmful for the vessels,” said Dr Kaul.
The common preventive tests that can be done are blood tests to check lipid profile once in a year, measuring blood pressure once in six months and also blood cholesterol once in six months.
In case of any suspicion, see a doctor for further specialised tests such as a stress echo, tread mill test etc,. For confirmation, a computed tomography angiography (CTA) technique used to visualise arterial and venous vessels throughout the body is most appropriate.
Dr KK Aggarwal, senior consultant physician, head, cardiology and dean of the board of medical education, Moolchand Medcity, swears by his formula of two for detecting heart abnormalities. “If you can walk two kilometers, if you can climb two flight of stairs and if you can have sex without any discomfort it means you are fine.” correction In the story, ‘Never Too Young for a Heart Attack’, published on September 26, it was mentioned that Nekhil Karan Chawla smoked 60 packets of cigarettes in a day. It is 6. The error is regretted.

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