…To Know About The Heart
1. You are never too young to be thinking of your heart.
2. We talk about heart disease, and heart attack comes to mind. In addition to blockage of heart arteries, several other problems can affect this organ. There can be problem with wiring of the heart or problems with heart muscles; there can be shrinkage or leakage of the heart valves or other structural abnormalities.
3. A concern for heart attacks makes us think of heart disease in local terms. We just tend to think of blockages that need fixing. The heart arteries are part of body’s plumbing system that runs from head to toe. Those who have heart attack tend to be at a higher risk for stroke and vice versa. This makes a strong case for thinking of heart disease in systemic rather than local terms. Systemic approach should involve controlling the risk factors for heart disease aggressively.
4. Not too long ago, we used to think that heart artery blockages progress over time (progressing from 50 to 60 to 70 percent and so on), and eventually cause heart attack. Later studies suggested that most of the heart attacks are caused by the arteries that are less than 50% blocked. These are the blockages that can be hard to detect through commonly used tests. This makes a case for proactive approach that should involve controlling risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, physical inactivity etc.
5. Cardiology (study of heart) is a rapidly evolving field. There was a time when people used to think that high blood pressure is an essential part of growing old. There was a time when swollen heart failure patients were treated by blood-letting. Both these approaches have been proven to be flawed over the years. On the other hand, new developments in this field continue to save lives.
6. It is possible to have perfectly normal life after heart problem. Quite often, my patients have told me, “This heart attack was a wakeup call for me. Now I eat right and exercise regularly. I am feeling better than I have felt in a long time”.