Heart care – A complete guide for young heart patients
Heart – the most strong part of a human body; perhaps the most weak too! It starts beating even before a man’s birth on earth and is the indicator of one’s life. It’s the first organ that starts functioning in a womb and the last one to stop too! It works continuously each and every moment till that person leaves this world. It’s really a great wonder machine which pumps 5 litres blood in normal conditions and can increase its capability up to 20 litres if condition demands. But as time pass by, heart losses its power. Also wrong life style reduces its life span a lot. Most of heart problems are related to blood vessels and valves. Fear of diseases has increased considerably over the past 10-15 years. Science has advanced that much forward. But that advanced technology is not sufficient to bring down the number of heart patients. Day by day, more people are added to the list and according to latest reports, by the year 2020 India will be ranked one among the toppers of heart diseased countries. So, not to face such a bad situation, let us conserve our heart from today onwards.
Of course, many paths can lead to heart problems – diabetics, high blood pressure, obesity, cholesterol etc and all those situations are happening just due to change of life style of modern man. So, solutions are in our hand if we try so! Healthy food and regular exercises – these two factors are sufficient enough to get rid of 90% of modern diseases. If so, you are not only keeping yourself fit and strong, but also increasing your life span free of medicines. Normally all these problems begin to arise as soon as one step towards his middle ages. When such conditions are detected it may be too late or too difficult to reach your previous health conditions. Now people at 20’s are also not free from such problems. For such persons great precautions are needed, also good treatment. Through this article I am giving a brief note on how they should remain and also, some of the modern technologies used for heart treatment.
For your heart - Six mantras
To keep your heart health, you should follow these six mantras. As I have already told, bad food habits and lack of proper exercise are the major causes of heart complaints. So, you need to change your life style a little to conserve your heart from further damages.
We can’t live without sufficient cholesterol. Yet we can’t survive if it becomes excess. So do periodic check ups to assure if your cholesterol level is in equilibrium. It’s needed to know the level of each type of cholesterol present in your blood stream. Lipid profile helps to know the amount of each type of cholesterol present in your blood.
Cholesterol up to which limit?
Total cholesterol – below 200 mg
H.D.L – Above 35
L.D.L – Below 130
Triglycerides – Below 150
V.L.D.L – Below 40
Total proportion of cholesterol to H.D.L should be below 3
Proportion of H.D.L to L.D.L should be range 1.5 to 3.5
When you reach 30 you should have a blood test to assure you don’t have cholesterol problems. In this age, hereditary traits may influence you.
- Reduce fried items. Instead make fruits, vegetables and salads a pert of your diet.
- Minimize the use of cooking oil.
- Do regular exercise.
- Smoking is injurious to health. So, do quit smoking if you have that bad habit.
Control blood pressure
High blood pressure is a vital factor that can cause a heart attack and its chances are 48% higher than a normal person. So, if it’s detected earlier through our habits we can control it and thus protect our heart. So even healthy persons should do regular check ups to find it earlier. If your blood pressure is high, it can affect the normal blood circulation through vessels and cause unnecessary clotting as well. As high blood pressure is continuously applying pressure on blood vessel walls, they are got damaged easily and may loss their elasticity as well. It may further lead to low blood circulation rate thus reducing the flow of blood towards heart. Arteriosclerosis may appear earlier in your life. 120/80 is the normal blood pressure. If it reaches 140/90, seek a doctor’s advice.
Diabetics should never exceed
Diabetic patients have double chances to become a heart patient than a normal person. If he is just a middle aged person his condition is equivalent to a non-diabetic heart patient who already had a heart attack. It’s common – nervous system of a diabetic patient gradually deteriorates. So, they loss some senses and hence they may not detect mild heart problems easily. It results in non-identification of several heart problems earlier. So, reducing diabetics is the only remedy.
Obesity can invite many diseases freely – diabetics, blood pressure, cholesterol and even problems in blood vessels. So, obesity increases the probability of heart diseases for sure. Recent studies have proved that overweight can directly influence the functioning of heart, making it weak. To reduce weight nothing can be done except reducing intake of calories and regular exercise.
If you are an addict to smoking, probability of death due to cardiac arrest is almost three times higher than normal conditions. Arteriosclerosis is a condition when fat gets deposited inside blood vessels, reduces its surface area and thus leading to block of the free passage of blood. Main reason for this problem is excess smoking. Blood clotting chances are more in such persons.
Make exercise a habit
Regular exercise is the best remedy to get rid of all health related problems including heart. When you do exercise, bad cholesterol in your body decreases and increases blood circulation. Thus blood pressure comes under control. Also, hormones produces while exercising are enough to protect heart from any disease attacks.
Heart healthy diet
Providing healthy food to heart and avoiding unhealthy one are equally important. When we instruct the nutritious food for our diet we should be aware of those items that are harmful to heart. Then only our body gets the good factors and benefits of the nutritious food supplied to the body. By regularizing these two factors we can avoid heart problems and strokes up to a great extend. Great care should be taken by arteriosclerosis patients and those who had mild attacks before. It’s applicable for persons even below 30.
Heart friendly food
To choose heart friendly diet is the best way to avoid or reduce heart related problems. Healthy food can reduce LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), blood pressure, body weight and blood sugar. That’s why it’s told avoiding unfriendly food is equally important as including healthy food in a normal diet. Also, it needs more effort to burn off or dispose those bad items from our blood vessels.
To reduce fat and cholesterol
- Replace fat milk, curd and butter with low fat milk products.
- Tined food, sausages, peanut butter, egg yolk and internal organs of animals like brain, liver, kidneys etc should be avoided by such patients. Use steam cooked non-vegetarian products instead. Those persons who are prone to heart diseases shall start good food habits in their 20’s itself.
- Cookies, pastries, cake, samosa etc use maida as the main ingredient. Replace maida content items with snacks made of whole grain wheat.
- Avoid hydrogenated fats as much as possible. Instead include olive oil and peanut oil in your diet. Polysaturated fatty acid content of both these oils can protect your heart.
- Use fruits fresh or dried. But never use rotten fruits or those stored with preservatives. Never use fruits along with ice cream or butter.
- Use vegetables a lot. But keep control on tubers like potato, sweet potato, tapioca etc.
To reduce triglycerides
- Reduce fat content food as much as possible.
- Reduce sugar and sugar content food items. Carbonated drinks, packet juices, honey, jam, candies, chocolates and jelly fall under this category. Eat fruits instead of fruit juices.
- Stop your drinking habit.
- Reduce the total food intake to reduce calories.
- Reduce weight.
What to include in your food
- Whole grain food, vegetables rich in fibers, red coloured rice that contains its outer covering, oats, fruits etc are able to reduce absorption of glucose to blood. So include them a lot to conserve your heart.
- Minimum fat milk and milk products
- Garlic works as a safety valve for heart
- Vegetables can be used semi-cooked and raw
- Fish containing omega -3 fatty acids a lot should be included. It’s mostly found in sea fish especially Tuna, Sardine and Mackerel.
- All soya products are good to heart. Include soya beans, soya milk or soya chunks in your daily diet.
- Eggs, meat and fish can protect your heart. But you should avoid the skin of meat, which contains fats a lot.
- Drink at least 8-9 glasses of water daily.
- Fenugreek is rich in fiber content. It’s good for all body ailments including diabetics, blood pressure and heart diseases.
- Papaya, orange, guava, gooseberry, mango or passion fruit – include at least one of them in your daily diet.
- Do regular exercise daily. Even 30 minutes brisk walk is good for heart.
What food items to be avoided
- Avoid fat rich food.
- Keep away from animal fat, curd, butter, ghee etc containing saturated fats. Instead use olive oil, sunflower oil, soya oil, saffola oil etc containing mono-saturated / poly-saturated fat.
- Sugar drinks and sweets
- Avoid yellow yolk of egg. Instead use white yolk.
- Avoid fried fish and meat.
- Tinned food and fruits covered with sweetening products
- Sugar, cakes, jams, syrups, ice creams, sausages etc
- Food containing excess salt and sodium, especially pickles and preserved food
- Reduce salt content in your daily diet
- Maida and maida products
- Leave smoking and drinking habits
- Beef, mutton, prawns, oysters etc
- Snacks like potato chips, banana chips, French fries etc.
If someone at your home gets an attack
We always pray to keep our family away from heart attacks. But if it occurs, what to do? First aid is very important. So, every member of a family should at least know what should be done if someone gets a cardiac arrest unexpectedly.
Lay him straight
If someone feels discomfort or chest pain, first thing to do is to lay him straight on ground. Head, legs and hands should be placed straight. If happened inside a room, open all windows and doors to allow fresh air to come in. Never crowd around him.
Check if he is conscious
Just touch his chest or cheeks and call him to know if he is conscious or not. If he doesn’t respond, pinch him in his hands or legs. Now also if he is not responding, sprinkle some cold water on his face.
Check if he is breathing properly. Movement of chest and breathing air of nose can help you know this.
It’s needed to check if heart and nervous system are functioning properly. You can know it by placing your hand on his neck or checking his pulse. If it’s not beating you can assure it’s an attack.
What first aid can be given
Remove breathing problems: If he is unconscious more chances are there that his tongue may become inactive and contract inwards causing respiratory problems. So keep his head straight and bend backwards so that his lower chin stands upwards.
Beat his heart: You can beat his heart. It may convert as a shock treatment helping to restart its function again. It’s known as thump version in medical terms.
Give artificial respiration: Cover the patient’s mouth and nose with a kerchief and blow inside his mouth strongly. At this time close his nose. Blow once and open the nose. Again close it and blow again. Repeat this process at a rate of 10-15 times a minute till the patient starts breathing.
Press his chest: Pressing his stopped heart helps to restart it again. It’s known as cardiac massage. Just place your palm below his ribs and place the other palm above it. Now press his chest strongly. During this process heart contracts and pumps blood to blood vessels. When hands released heart again fills with blood. Thus provide artificial pumping of heart. Cardiac massaging can be done at a rate of 80 per minute. In between, you can give artificial respiration as well. If it’s done by one person, artificial respiration can be done after each 10-12 cardiac massages. If more than one person is present, artificial respiration has to be done between every 5-6 massages. Above provided steps should be continued till patient starts breathing and it should be checked periodically if it’s going on smoothly.
To hospital as early as possible: Take him to the nearest hospital as early as possible. If it’s possible inform them through a call once you start from home. If he had similar attacks before keep its tablet always in his pocket. Also, its name should be clearly written on its packet. Always keep emergency numbers in hand distance.
Radial Angioplasty - The most modern technique used
Heart is made of special heart muscles and if it has to function well, blood circulation should happen properly. But in many persons, due to blocks in blood vessels his blood circulation network may not function properly. Such continuous blocks may lead to heart attacks. When heart muscles don’t get sufficient blood a part of heart may stop function suddenly and this condition is known as heart attack. If such blocks or plaques caused by cholesterol are removed total surface area of blood vessels can be increased thus promoting blood circulation. Now Radial Angioplasty is the most recent tool used for removing such locks. It’s more efficient and safe comparing the old method of inserting catheter through a deep wound made in leg.
For those persons who had a heart attack first treatment given is primary angioplasty. Tablets to keep blood in normal conditions are also given. It’s better to give the treatment within one hour of attack. Yet it can be given within first three hours though benefits are less.
It’s a treatment given to remove blocks in coronary blood vessels. A small balloon is placed in blocks and it is expanded. It results in the removal of block and free pumping of blood. To avoid further blocks treatments like stenting are also available.
How is it done?
At first, through angioplasty it’s identified where a block has formed. Then a catheter fixed with a balloon at its tip is passed through coronary blood vessel. This balloon is fixed in that block detected position. It’s done by examining through an X-ray monitor. Then it’s expanded giving desired pressure. This pressure helps the expansion of blood vessel thus helping in the removal of that clot and plaques. When it’s confirmed that everything is ok, balloon and catheter are removed.
What are its advantages?
Earlier catheter was entered through femoral blood vessel of leg while now it’s entered through blood vessels of hand.
- In the previous technique, many problems had been noted later. But doing angioplasty through hands, such problems have very much reduced.
- Patient can go home that day itself. Also, he is able to walk soon after the treatment.
- It has less difficulties comparing to femoral angioplasty.
- It’s not difficult to get a nerve even in the case of an over-weight person.
- This treatment may need just 4 or 5 hours to complete.
- Even if problems like bleeding may occur it’s easy to handle them.
A bypass to life
As told before, clots in blood vessels leading to heart may lead to several heart problems including inadequate supply of blood to heart. Some times, to remove such problems bypass is stitched in the vessels thus allowing the free flow of blood. This surgery is known as coronary artery bypass grafting.
Bypass for whom?
Treatments are fixed after noting where a block is formed, what are its characteristics, how many blocks, how much difficulty faced in blood pumping, what are its future treats etc. Only 30% of heart patients may need a bypass surgery.
Similar to bypass roads, to reduce congestion a parallel channel is created for blood transmission. If new blood vessels are stitched on either sides of a particular block blood can transmit without any difficulty. That artificial blood vessel is known as graft, developed from blood vessels taken from patient’s body itself. It’s a complex surgery conducted by a group of surgeons and it can take up to 5 hours for completion. General anastasia is given before it’s conducted.
After the surgery the patient will be under the observation of cardiac surgical ICU. Person will be able to sit in a chair soon after the operation. Tea, coffee or soup will be given. From second day onwards he can take easily digestible food items. Also, he can sit a little while or walk inside the ICU. On the third day, he may be changed to his room. He may feel some discomforts for the next 6-10 weeks, mainly pain of chest, back, neck and shoulder muscles. He may take bath in hot water to reduce pain. It needs at least three months to heal the wound and he should not lift more than 5kg within this period.
Heart beats – some surprising facts!
- A heart pumps almost 9000 litres of blood everyday. i.e. 9 times the water consumed by a normal family.
- Pulse rate of adults is 72. It’s a bit higher in kids. It falls in the range 90-120.
- A human body contains 5.5 litres of blood. Three times in every single minute, the same blood circulates the whole body. So, total distance traveled by blood in a single day is 19000 km.
Yes, human body is nothing less than a wonderland! It consists of minute organs integrated together to function in a proper way. It’s true defect of one body part may affect many other parts. Heart is the centre of everything which gives life to each and every nerve and cell of our body. onserve it best for a better tomorrow.
Like it on Facebook, Tweet it or share this article on other bookmarking websites.