Raghav Mishra, an entrepreneur was leading a healthy life before cardiac arrest. Having been questioned whether there was a history of cardiac arrest in his family, he says, “I went to the gym 5 days a week and ate healthy and balanced diet. There was no way I could have ever compromised on my health. In fact my colleagues used to often wonder how I performed so well under pressure and never required a smoke zone and time at work. I called it time management. If you see, at home I am a proud parent of two and live a normal family life. I always went for regular checkups too. But, one fine day with cardiac arrest the course of my life totally changed.”
We have Dr. Umesh Gupta, cardiologist at Umkal Hospital, who answers a few questions on new hope for the heart – technology.
Onlymyhealth: Why do people who lead a healthy life become a victim of cardiac arrest?
If heart attacks could be predicted,it could turn out to be a breakthrough moment in the history of cardiac care. Heart attacks occur because of the deposition of cholesterol which blocks the arteries. Cholesterol plaque have soft surface covering and when these rupture they cause blood clots and eventually cardiac arrest. In case the cholesterol deposit is only 10-30% no symptoms will come in the foreground. This is the reason when people who say they’re leading a healthy lifestyle find themselves in a vicious trap.
Onlymyhealth: In such cases can heart attacks be prevented or even detected so that early diagnosis can be done?
No matter how healthy a person considers himself to be, they cannot evade stress. You cannot measure stress. Moreover, Indian food is rich in fat. We have paranthas and kachoris to feed our taste buds. So, if we could actually eliminate the factors that increase the chances of heart attack like smoking, alcohol intake, fast food, deep fried foods we can prevent heart attacks, if not eliminate the chances totally. One must have a strong will to say no to unhealthy foods.
Onlymyhealth: Not all plaques lead to heart attacks. Do various scans and tests done successfully highlight the high risk plaque?
Extensive research is being done now. Cardiac MRIs can detect plaque build up and blockages in the blood vessels but we cannot predict when exactly the soft plaques will rupture.
Quite interestingly we have statin group of drugs which have shown to reduce rupture of soft plaque by creating a hard covering on the surface of soft plaque. Moreover, this group of drugs have also successfully lowered the cholesterol levels and are prescribed worldwide. People who enter the more susceptible age groups i.e. 40 years and above are prescribed statin group of drugs. Of course one needs to understand that the effects can be seen only after 2-3 years.
Onlymyhealth: Medical Community vouches completely upon imaging technology which can pick up hidden heart problems. Will it increase the win-win ratio for future cardiac patients?
As mentioned earlier research is being conducted. There are 2 modalities upon which extensive work is being done. One is CT angiograms and the other is MRIs. Imaging technology is certainly going to be advantageous in the long run because everybody knows prevention is any day better than cure.
Onlymyhealth: Any word of advice to those who have cardiovascular diseases or might develop it?
Doctors have the cure to your heart disease. Do not take undue stress on when you’d be struck with another cardiac arrest. Try living your life on a positive note, exercise and eat a healthy and balanced diet. Try to change yourself than the world.
So, until a definitive measure to eliminate possible heart risks comes into being, let’s change our lifestyle and not bother about what happens tomorrow.
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