REDUCING THE RISK OF HEART ATTACK

DR.S.M.ALAM & M.A.KHAN
Sep 15 - 21, 2008

The heart is a vital organ of body. The disorders of the heart involve the dysfunction of heart muscles, valves or blood vessels, which supply blood to the heart. If the heart muscle is weakened, it results in heart failure. In this condition the heart cannot pump enough blood through body. The affected person gets breathless upon walking and develops swelling on the ankles. The heart attacks are the result of two main serious illnesses suffered by men and women in these days. Heart attacks and its treatment is only concerned with human beings and not with animals and other living creature of the earth.

In human beings, heart attacks are result of two main processes. One is known as 'atherosclerosis'. In this condition, there is a gradual build up of fatty substances in the walls of the coronary arteries which supply the heart muscle with oxygen and normal blood. The second is thrombosis i.e. the development of a clot in a coronary artery. The heart attack is often a sudden event that occurs when a clot develops at the site of a narrowing in the artery and cuts off the blood supply to the muscle beyond. There are several things everyone can do to reduce risk of a heart attack. A useful point to remember is that all of them promote healthy living in general and help to prevent other diseases in addition to heart attacks. Some of the major symptoms of heart attacks are angina, breathlessness, tiredness, and palpitation. A few tests and treatments are: Cardiac Catheterisation, Chest X-ray, Echocardiography, Nuclear Imaging Angioplasty, Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery,

Stress is often regarded by the public and the media as the main cause of heart attacks. Raised blood pressure also increases the risk of a stroke. Most patients who have a coronary have cholesterol levels that are higher than ideal and should endeavor to reduce them.

In many cases they are only slightly raised and can be lowered by diet, drugs for this purpose are seldom needed. There are two reasons for changing diet. One is to lose weight and the other is to reduce the blood cholesterol level. The main target is to reduce the saturated fats in one's diet as far as possible; the chief sources of saturated fats are high - fat dairy products, fatty animals' meat, and palm and coconut oil. The total intake should be reduced but can be partly substituted by mono-saturated fat (olive oil) or poly-saturated fat (oil and margarines). It is a good idea to eat more fruits and vegetables, chicken, fish and skimmed and semi-skimmed milk are all good forms of nutrition. Besides reducing fat from dairy products increasing the amount of oily fish is also helpful. There is no need for reducing our sugar intake as far as heart attack is concerned. Sugar intake does not appear to affect heart disease but it must be noted that excessive consumption may lead to a gain in weight and so to an increased chance of developing diabetes and of aggravation the arthritis. Nearly all of us take more salt than we need, mostly in prepared foods such as bread as well as by adding it during cooking or at the table. Reducing one's salt level is particularly important if our blood pressure is raised and under those conditions it increases the risk of stroke.

Exercise plays an important role in reducing the blood pressure and thus physical exercise undoubtedly helps to prevent heart attack risk but it has to be vigorous enough to make us slightly breathless. Strolling and playing golf for example are enjoyable but are probably not sufficiently energetic. Brisk walking on the level land, or hill walking, swimming and cycling and participation in sports such as football are examples of the kind of exercise we need to consider. Walking regularly may reduce heart attack. Exercise also has to be regular if it is to go on helping i.e. for at least 20-30 minutes three times a week. Exercise also has to be regular if it is to go on helping for at least 20-30 minutes three times a week. Cycling and participation in sports such as football are examples of the kind of exercise we need to consider.

Medicines also help to lower the blood cholesterol level and to reduce the blood pressure or to reduce the clotting power. But these drugs should only be used by those who really need them after full consultation with a doctor. Aspirin is valuable for those who have already had a heart attack or a stroke and reduces the chance of further attack.

Patients who have a heart attack should think long and hard about the kind of things that they find particularly stressful. One must avoid meeting persons devoid of etiquette and without any character.