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Medicine & Health Education
Essential Therapeutic Life Style Changes
For a Healthy Body, Mind and Spirit
Some Simple Steps to Uplift the Physical, Mental and Spiritual Health
Bala N. Aiyer, M.D.
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Part - 08
 
 
PART - 08: MEDICAL MANAGEMENT OF THE ACHING HEART - Sec. 2
 
 
 
 
Which is better - Emergency treatment or Preventive Measures?

08.01: Urgent treatment essential, but then what?

The most important aspect of a Heart Attack is that it needs immediate action. It is like a house being on fire - the sooner we give medical attention the less would be the harm done to the heart muscles. "Time is Muscle" as they say. If that be so, what are the indications for angina or heart attack? Most people would aver that they got it without any preceding symptom. Many of them who had felt a mild discomfort often ignore that or satisfy themselves that they are alright. Many of them, especially those afflicted with diabetes, may not feel any chest pain. There are no sensory nerves in the heart muscles. Almost a third of the victims, without even being able to convey their distress, may breathe their last at home or while going in the ambulance to the medical center.

Many may not feel any agonizing symptoms. They may however get other signs of an impending attack. Many may feel a pang in their left shoulder or neck or abdomen and that too may disappear after some time. There could be other instances like a sudden ache in the left lower jaw; or a feeling of discomfort in an old scar in the back; or a pain in the left elbow while mowing the lawn. Many may get a mild fatigue. Only a check-up can reveal the presence of a malady. Even those who got a "sudden heart attack" might have had an advance indication like a mild pain or feeling a little faint; they could have ignored it. Chest pain is a rare occurrence among ladies. Many would have stomach trouble or a sudden vomiting or diarrhea. They may suddenly have excessive sweating all over. A lot of them will forget this over time. No one may get a "chest pain" as such.

A feeling of being out of breath or gasping and panting may come over. It may also go off after a little while. One should not associate heart attack with chest pain only. When subjected to ECG/EKG test many may appear normal. Only further tests like Stress Test or Nuclear Stress Test would show the truth. Also, chest pain could be the symptom of other disorders also. If several members of a family have heart problems, especially before the age of 50, they have to be extra careful in their lifestyle. Tests would have to commence even from the age of 30 - 40 years. Diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol have to be specifically examined for and corrective steps taken for keeping them under control. All the members have to be careful about their diet after the age of 40 years.

08.02: QUEEN OF HEARTS - Does "S'HE" know?

It is a common belief that heart diseases are a masculine affliction and cancer is actually a bigger threat for women. Actually, heart disease is a killer that strikes more women than men and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. Most women believe that if there is a family history of heart disease, they cannot escape it. However it has been seen that, because of healthy choices and knowing the signs, more women can be saved from the heart attacks. Contrary to the belief that heart disease affects only old age people, it affects women of all ages. In fact, younger women with Diabetes or with use of birth control pills as well as smoking develop the risk of heart disease at early age. More than one in three adult female will have some form of cardiovascular disease and for about one in ten of them the coronary heart diseases may be fatal.

08.03: Preventive measures - Exercise and proper food habits.

If there is a family history showing incidence of heart ailments, or obesity (abdominal), or diabetes, hypertension or cholesterol at a young age or a heart attack before the age of 50 years, before anything else is treated, it would be necessary for men and women to have a complete cardiac work-up along with blood tests need to be done. Daily physical workouts for about 30 to 45 minutes are strongly recommended, unless such exertion is prohibited by some other disorders. The aerobics could be fast walking, or cycling; swimming is also a good exercise. But it should be remembered that just because you are doing the drill, you cannot be lax in your food habits and eat what you like. Correct quantum and proper ingredients in the diet are very important.

Diabetes victims have a tendency to feel hungry often, apart from having a longing for sweets. It is necessary for them to keep a tight control on the blood sugar levels. Also, like calisthenics, sleep is essential for proper rest for the mind and the body. But sedatives should not be resorted to for getting sleep. It is necessary for everyone to follow the good habits - especially those who are subject to risk factors. Adopting the healthy practices mentioned above for a proper life style is necessary. Controlling the effects of diabetes, hypertension and similar ailments with proper medication is essential for the good of the heart. The level of affliction by these diseases must be kept down as much as possible for the good of the heart. Heart attack causes a permanent damage to the heart muscles and curing it is very difficult. So, prevention is the best antidote for coronary artery diseases. To achieve this, start early and make suitable changes in lifestyle even from the age of 40 - 45 years and adopt preventive measures.

 
   
   
 
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-- This is called Behavior Modification --
Essential Lifestyle Changes -- for a healthy Body, Mind and Spirit 0
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Thank You
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