Dr. Anil Prahlada Rao Kumar
Specialist Cardiology, Aster Clinic, Bur Dubai (AJMC)
The heart is one of the most vital organs of the body and thus several research centres all over the world pour thousands into understanding heart disease and how to prevent it.
Now and then, medical professionals receive new guidelines, treatment modalities and targets to achieve. As the world becomes more stressful, the heart patients that are coming are progressively younger every year. This is the trend that Dr. Anil Prahlada Rao Kumar, Specialist Cardiology, Aster Clinic Bur Dubai (AJMC) has noticed in his day-to-day practice. “With stressful jobs comes bad habits like eating junk food, smoking and remaining sedentary. Earlier, people developed diabetes, hypertension etc. at around 40-45 years of age but nowadays, many patients are younger, usually around 25-35. We see this evidence in our clinic data. These people form the core of the workforce and their stressful lifestyle results in early-onset hypertension along with hypercholesterolemia. When they are affected it affects the country and eventually the world,” Dr. Anil notes.
The pandemic has brought along its own set of issues for those prone to heart diseases. Dr. Anil looks at the complications from two angles. The virus itself caused existing patients with high cholesterol, diabetes etc. to stop taking their medication once the prescription was complete and coming in for regular check-ups/evaluations out of fear of catching Covid-19. Those patients who had it under control reversed the development completely. The second was an observation of those who were infected by the virus by Dr. Anil, “When Covid-19 enters the body, the immune system is activated. Some people develop a condition known as hyperimmune response syndrome, which leads to the thickening of the blood, also known as thrombotic state. This is a serious problem for those with heart issues as thicker blood can clog the blood vessels and those who are vulnerable are at risk of acute conditions like a heart attack.”
Dr. Anil encourages everyone, especially those with heart and other prevalent health issues, to get the jab. If anyone has any doubts or fears, he advises them to consult a physician.
“People who go in for vaccination get their blood pressure checked before so there has been an acute increase in the number of people who have high blood pressure but never checked it. Every day we see at least two or three people who come in saying they have been diagnosed with hypertension because they were checked pre-vaccination,” he notes.
Prevention better than cure
"On World Heart Day, we would urge people to connect with their hearts and get ahead of their heart's health. There are various preventive health check-ups available, which help identify any underlying issues," Dr. Anil also recommends that along with the regular check-ups, people should also follow a physical exercise regimen and a healthy balanced diet to manage their overall health.
Aster Clinic conducts various events and campaigns throughout the year, which help increase public awareness about various health issues.
Aster Clinic Cardiology Department
“At Aster Clinic’s Cardiology Department our main intention is to give primary care to the patient from the cardiology point of view. Our patients are those who come to us with chest pain or regular follow-ups for diabetes or hypertension. We try to evaluate how the patient is doing and how their heart is doing,” says Dr. Anil.
One of the tests is the exercise echocardiogram, commonly known as the treadmill test. For those who are unable to take on the treadmill test, Aster Clinic prescribes the Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram (DSE), which induces similar stress to the treadmill test pharmacologically, helping to evaluate heart health for all. Patients can also consult with a general practitioner and internal medicine and stay ahead of their overall health by including routine health check-ups as part of their lives.
I am young, will heart disease affect me?
It is a common misconception that younger people cannot be affected by heart diseases but Dr. Anil’s youngest patient with hypertension is 21 years old, and he also has a few in their mid-20s, proving this belief wrong. The cardiologist informs that even if you feel completely fine there is still a chance of having high blood pressure and high cholesterol. He advises that anyone over 18 should get their blood pressure checked at least once every five years provided the results are satisfactory. Those over 20 years, should get their cholesterol levels checked at least once.
“South East Asians run a higher risk of developing diabetes and hypertension. In most people’s family history, there will be at least one family member who has either hypertension, diabetes or cholesterol or some form of heart disease. It runs in our genetics, so we should not just leave it to chance. Preventing any disease is the best cure, and doctors should advise their patients of this,” Dr. Anil stresses. He concludes by urging that every person should be physically active, consume lots of fruits and vegetables and cut down on junk foods as well as their red meat intake, and staying ahead of their overall health by including routine health check-ups as part of their lives.
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