Life after a heart attack will involve a considerable number of changes, and if this is affecting your mental health going for therapy will help cope.
Q:What is the most common type of heart disease?
Dr:That would be Coronary Artery disease which occurs when the arteries supplying blood to the heart narrow or harden from the build-up of plaque. This lowers the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart and puts more strain on it, leading to angina (chest pain) or progress to a heart attack.
Q:What increases the risk for heart disease?
Dr:High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, obesity and lack of exercise are key risk factors. Besides these, having a family history of the condition increases one’s chances of having heart disease. When it comes to age, heart disease is usually associated with those older than 50 years of age but it does not rule out the possibility of it occurring in younger people as well.
Q:Is there an actual link between Smoking and Heart Disease or is it a Myth?
Dr:Ans: It is not a myth. Nicotine in cigarettes reduces the volume of oxygen to the heart. It also raises blood pressure and damages the cells that line the coronary arteries and other blood vessels. Nicotine is also known to increase heart rate and cause blood clotting.
Q:Is a Cardiac Arrest the same as a Heart Attack?
Dr:Though people tend to use the two terms interchangeably, both conditions are quite different. A heart attack occurs when the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart is cut-off by a block in an artery. The longer the block remains, the more damage to the heart. A cardiac arrest happens when heart stops beating. The pumping action of the heart is disrupted and it can no longer supply blood to the vital organs. If not treated immediately, it is fatal.
Q:What causes Arrhythmia?
Dr:An Arrhythmia is when the heart’s pumping action is impaired leading to irregularity in the heartbeat. Stress, caffeine, smoking, alcohol, diet pills and certain OTC medications for cold & cough can cause an arrhythmia. Most of arrhythmias are not life threatening. However, if your heart tissue is damaged due to a heart attack or congenital heart disease or any other heart condition, it may cause an arrhythmia that calls for medical intervention.
Q:What options are there for Arrhythmia Treatment?
Dr:From medications to devices to control heart-beat there are enough options to help rectify an irregular heart-beat. Depending on the severity of the condition your doctor will guide you on what to do next. An arrhythmia in an individual with a heart ailment, can be indicative of a more serious problem.
Q:Once a person has had a heart attack is he at higher risk for another one?
Dr:Yes. This makes it very important to visit your doctor regularly besides diligently taking the medication he/she has prescribed. It’s normal to feel mild chest pain – like a light pain or pressure in your chest- typically after physical exertion, intense emotion or eating a heavy meal. But this sensation is not long lasting. However, if the pain intensifies or lasts for longer periods of time, checking with your doctor is a good idea.
Q:After having a heart attack, can one go back to regular work?
Dr:Most people do go back to work after their doctor clears them. How soon you can get back to your job depends on how well your heart has recovered. If your heart muscles are severely compromised and your line of work involves intense physical activity, the doctor might advise you to take a longer break or find a less demanding job. Life after a heart attack will involve a considerable number of changes, and if this is affecting your mental health going for therapy will help cope.
Q:What is Cardiac Rehab?
Dr:A cardiac rehabilitation program helps the individual recovering from a heart attack, heart failure, or some types of heart surgery. It takes place at the hospital under the supervision of your doctor with the assistance of a nurse, a dietitian or other healthcare professionals. The Rehab program is aimed at improving your health through exercise training, education, and counselling to reduce stress. The Rehab team will also help you make the right kind of life-style choices for your overall well-being.
Q:What is the life-style changes one must adopt to ensure heart health?
Dr:Quit smoking tobacco, if you have the habit. Avoid being in surroundings that could render you a passive smoker too. Adopt an active life-style. Under the guidance of your doctor, choose a work-out plan that keeps you healthy and your heart pumping normally. Consult with a professional dietician to find out what kind of food habits will keep your heart and you in good shape. Meditation helps with lowering stress levels, so find a technique that works for you. Staying up too late is also stress on your body and mind, so get to bed early and get a good night’s rest before facing the challenges of the next day.
CONSULTANT – CARDIOLOGY
MBBS, MD (MEDICINE), DM (CARDIOLOGY)