(1) Though heart is described as a very delicate organ in romantic poetry, in reality, it is a very strong and solid organ. The weight of an adult heart is 800 to 1500 grams.
(2) For diagnosing heart disease accurately, a thorough evaluation to understand symptoms of the patient, physical examination, idea about presence of coexisting illnesses and certain medical tests are needed. Only stethoscope cannot diagnose most illnesses with precision.
(3) In spite of having quite advanced heart disease, 10-30% patients do not have any significant symptoms. Regular preventive health check is the only way to be aware of one’s illness before it’s too late.
(4) Normal ECG does not guarantee absence of heart disease in all circumstances. In fact, ECG may be totally normal till one gets a major heart attack or cardiac arrest death. ECG is a very important test, but not without limitations.
(5) Many people are afraid of Treadmill Stress Test. In fact it is a very safe test when done with proper medical monitoring in a person who has normal or near normal function of the heart, with no major valve or rhythm disease and who does not have serious symptoms while living routine life.
(6) At times, looking to the seriousness of symptoms and / or conclusions drawn out of ECG / Echocardiography, a Doctor may feel it right to recommend coronary angiography directly without getting a stress test done. A patient should not insist to undergo stress test in such a situation.
(7) CT coronary angiography has been a great innovation of modern medical science. It is of great help in two situations : ( A ) When the probability of a person having major block is very low. In such a situation, it rules out the blocks and assures the person. ( B ) To know the condition of the bypass grafts in patients who have undergone CABG.
(8) In majority of the patients with high blood pressure, there are no or non-specific symptoms. Heart attack, stroke or death may, in fact, be the first symptom in many ! To prevent such a catastrophe, one must take regular medicines for high blood pressure.
(9) High blood pressure, diabetes and dyslipidemia are chronic illnesses with no or minimal symptoms. That’s why they are called as ‘silent killer’. In majority of the cases, these are controllable and not curable disease. Lifelong discipline and medicines are must.
(10) The Only way to answer the question “ Do I have high blood pressure or diabetes or high blood cholesterol ? “ , is to measure your blood pressure or blood sugar or blood lipids. There is no other way ! No one can predict their absence or presence by only symptoms or history.
(11) Many patients with diabetes develop heart attack without any specific symptoms. All such patients should practice necessary preventive measures. Sometimes they have atypical symptoms of heart disease. Even if the slightest doubt exists, one should get an ECG done.
(12) It is easier and even more rewarding to control high blood pressure and high cholesterol than to control high sugar in patients with diabetes. Blood pressure and cholesterol control are far more effective than sugar control in preventing heart attack and stroke. Obviously, this does not mean there is no role of sugar control.
(13) All those who have had a heart attack, angina, stroke, diabetes or have blocks in heart, brain, kidney or limb arteries, should take lipid lowering medicine statin on a daily base and in sufficiently high does for lifelong, unless there is a serious contraindication or side effects. Statin should be take even if blood lipid level is normal.
(14) It is always better to reach the hospital when one feels his/her ongoing chest pain is likely to be angina. Insisting on a Doctor visit your home can waste your precious time if it’s really a heart attack. One might need to stay at chest pain clinic under observation even it the first ECG is normal. Repeat ECGs, certain blood test (CKMB, Troponin) and CT angiography can help to establish or rule out the heart attack.
(15) Most deaths due to heart attack happen in the first hour after onset of heart attack. Not only that, treatment for heart attack is most effective only during the first (golden) hour. Unfortunately, due to lack of proper medical knowledge and skepticism, majority of such patients lose this golden hour and they reach the hospital after few hours.
(16) Primary angioplasty done during the ongoing heart attack is one of the most miraculous treatment science has invented. When a heart attack is diagnosed, angiography and subsequently angioplasty of the culprit artery should be done at the earliest without wasting any time
(17) In today’s health conscious world, many healthy people come to cardiologists and demand for coronary angiography to understand and predict their future risk of heart attack. Unfortunately, angiography in an asymptomatic person, does not give any idea about future risk of heart attack. One might have a normal angiography and still can develop heart attack within a few days.
(18) To predict the risk of heart attack, we need to understand the presence of various risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol problem, sedentary lifestyle, consumption of tobacco, unhealthy food habits, obesity, stress, etc. Preventing or controlling these risk factors surely helps a lot to reduce the risk of heart attack.
(19) Simple CT-Scan of the heart with calcium scoring, a blood test called “ hSCRP” and blood pressure ration in upper VS lower extremities (ABI) do predict risk of future heart attack to good extent.
(20) In the event of cardiac arrest (heart ceasing to beat), giving chest massage and mouth to mouth breathing to the deceased can help restoration of heart function and maintains effective blood circulation for few minutes. This is known as CPR. Everyone should learn CPR. We can be of vital importance to someone someday !
(21) As per a serious conclusion of World Health Organization, almost half of the heart patients of the world are Indians. We need very sincere and intense efforts at all levels to meet with this disease load and to prevent untoward consequences of it. Let’s be reminded : All collective efforts to improve future start with ‘me’ and from ‘today’ itself !
(22) Health encompasses not only physical but also mental and spiritual well being. It’s well said : “ One is what one eats.” We should be conscious towards what we feed not only to our body but also our mind and spirit.
(23) For sustainable healthy weight loss, only one formula works : Disciplined eating habits and regular exercise. All other methods look very tempting and easy, but in the long run they may prove either ineffective or dangerous.
(24) In the matter of food, three important choices should be made very consciously : what to eat, how much to eat and when to eat. Even the feelings and vibrations of food maker and mental state of the person at the time of eating, do influence the effects of food on the mind, body and spirit.
(25) ‘ No exercise, no food ‘ may be a good formula on a daily basis. Only a strong body and mind would be able to keep us happy and healthy in the midst of present era’s stress and workload.
(26) Tobacco, alcohol and other addictions make life hell. All these addictions kill the energy and essence of mind and body. For quitting addictions, family, friends, saints and religion can help a lot.
(27) In the continuous pursuit of progress into the external world, most of us forget to take a few moments and look within. Many do not have awareness towards the inner world and for many others, it is very late when they become conscious to it. For those who live every moment of life with full consciousness and objectivity, victory over one’s own inner enemies like ego, desire, anger, greed, attachment and illusions becomes possible and life on earth only becomes like heaven.