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Him Or Her - Higher Risks of a Heart Attack

Him Or Her – Who Faces the Higher Risks of a Heart Attack?

Your gender is a very important risk factor that determines your vulnerability to certain diseases and conditions. While we assume these to be gender-neutral, it is quite surprising to note that some diseases are more common in males while others are common in females. Though their hearts may look the same, there are significant dissimilarities that cannot be simply ignored. Experts from the best heart hospital in Kolkata suggest that the heart of a woman is much smaller than that of a man and so are its internal chambers. In fact, even the walls separating these chambers are thinner in the case of females.

It is pertinent to note that the difference is not only in the structure of the heart but also in the way in which the heart functions. The heart of a female pumps blood faster as compared to that of a male, yet it releases 10 per cent less blood. Under stress, there is a rapid increase in the pulse rate and heartbeats of women, whereas in the case of men, their arteries become constricted and blood pressure is raised.

In this blog, we have tried to elaborate on the role of gender in determining a person’s vulnerability to various heart ailments with the help of best cardiologist in kolkata.

  • Women have additional risk factors as compared to men

If we talk about the traditional risk factors like hypertension, elevated blood sugar levels, high cholesterol, excess body weight (obesity) and smoking, these are shared by both genders. Such risk factors also include a family history of any heart ailment, especially if the male members of your family were diagnosed with any such health issue before the age of 55 and the female members were diagnosed with the same before the age of 65. Apart from all these factors, there are certain factors that are specific to females. Conditions like endometriosis, polycystic ovarian disease and preeclampsia. Studies have shown that endometriosis increases the risks of CAD by almost 400 per cent in women aged 40 or below.

  • Women experience their first heart attack at an older age

The average age of heart attack in women is 70, whereas the same is 66 in the case of men. This is due to the presence of the hormone oestrogen, which has been found to protect the heart of women until they hit menopause. After this, the oestrogen levels slowly start to drop.

  • Women are likely to experience certain different symptoms of heart attack

Men usually experience crushing chest pain during a heart attack, whereas women start to experience certain red flags long before the actual attack. These include

  • Excessive fatigue – This is marked by general body weakness and inability to indulge in normal, day to day physical activities, often accompanied by heaviness in the chest and inability to sleep peacefully at night.
  • Breathlessness and sweating – Experiencing these two while you are indulged in some physical activity are normal, however, if you are experiencing the symptoms without any exertion, or while lying down, you should not take them lightly.
  • Pain in uncommon places – While men are more likely to experience pain primarily in the left arm, women can experience it in either of the two arms, along with the neck, back and jaw.

If you are experiencing any such symptom, you can consult the experts from BM Birla hospital for further evaluation and proper treatment.

  • The impact of a heart attack is worse in the case of women

Heart attack is not as hard on males, as on females. Women take more time to recover and are usually required to stay in the hospital for a longer period of time. This is owing to the fact that women often tend to overlook their health and well-being because of which they are likely to have a lot more untreated symptoms as compared to men.

Aortic Stenosis Bringing Down the Risks - BM Birla Hospital

Aortic Stenosis: Bringing Down the Risks

Normally, a heart has 3 Aortic Stenosis is a condition marked by severe blockage or obstruction in the aortic valve that may hinder the normal flow of blood from the heart to the aorta. As the valve narrows down, the heart has to work harder to keep the blood flowing to different organs of our body. This can lead to the thickening of the ventricular muscles and give rise to life-threatening complications. TAVI surgery in Kolkata has helped countless patients suffering from aortic stenosis and given them a healthier chance at life. It is pertinent to note that aortic stenosis can be triggered by a number of reasons, however, the good news is that we can significantly lower the risks by adhering to some healthy lifestyle changes. 

Symptoms that should not be taken for granted: 

As per the leading TAVI surgeons in Kolkata, patients suffering from aortic stenosis might not always experience any major symptoms and can even be asymptomatic. The adversity of the symptoms is directly proportional to the adversity of the patient’s condition and these may vary from person to person. Here is a list of few symptoms that you need to look out for:

  • Heart murmur or abnormal heart sound that can be heard with the help of a stethoscope
  • Angina, i.e. severe and persistent chest pain that that aggravates with activity
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Breathlessness or trouble breathing 
  • Palpitations caused by rapid or fluttering heartbeats
  • Loss of appetite, which is mainly seen in children

What causes aortic stenosis? 

Here are 3 major causes of aortic stenosis, as listed by the experts from the best heart hospital in Kolkata

  • Congenital heart defect – Congenital heart defects are those that are present since birth, i.e. a child is born with these. Normally, an aortic valve is tricuspid, i.e. it has 3 cusps. However, some children might be born with a bicuspid aortic valve, i.e. one that has only 2 cusps. Having 1 or 4 cusps is quite rare. Children suffering from such problems need to go for regular heart assessments. Though the problem may not cause any major complication until adulthood, certain precautions are to be taken from the very beginning. As the valve continues to become narrow and starts to leak, the patient may need to get it repaired or replaced. This is done surgically via procedures like TAVI. 
  • Excessive build-up of calcium – We all know that calcium is important for our bones but too much of everything is bad. Excessive calcium present in our blood has a tendency to stick to the heart valves and accumulate. This is commonly referred to as aortic valve calcification. Though the calcium deposits do not usually cause a problem until the patient crosses 60 to 70 years of age, for those with a congenital aortic valve defect the problems may start at a younger age.
  • Rheumatic fever – Rheumatic fever is a complication triggered by strep throat infection in kids. This can lead to the formation of scar tissue on the aortic valve, which not only narrows it down but also promotes calcification. Rheumatic fever can damage multiple valves in more than one way. 

Do you fall into the risk category?

Here are a few factors that can increase your risks of developing aortic valve stenosis

  • Advanced age, as the condition is more likely to affect elderlies
  • Having a history of a chronic infection involving the heart
  • Having an underlying cardiovascular ailment like diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol
  • Chronic renal ailment
  • Severe infection involving the heart

What you can do to bring down the risks of aortic stenosis? 

  • Take all the precautions to prevent rheumatic fever. Do not take your throat problems for granted and consult an expert when you have a sore throat. Strep throat, if left untreated for long, can develop into rheumatic fever. Hence it is important to take the prescribed dose of antibiotics religiously.
  • If you have any underlying cardiovascular ailment like diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, try to keep these under control by making healthy lifestyle and dietary modifications.
  • Take care of your oral hygiene as bacteria and germs present in your mouth can easily enter the bloodline and infect the heart. Doctors even point towards a possible link between gingivitis and endocarditis.
LVAD Surgery in Kolkata - Left Ventricular Assist Devices

LVAD Surgery: Bridge to Transplant

LVAD Surgery: Bridge to Transplant

Heart failure is a serious condition marked by the inefficiency of the heart muscles to pump blood to different parts of the body. Also referred to as congestive heart failure, the condition can prove to be life-threatening if not addressed immediately. Such patients are often recommended to undergo a heart transplant, a surgical procedure that involves the replacement of a diseased or non-functional part of the patient’s heart with a healthy heart taken from a deceased donor. The procedure is offered at all the best heart hospitals in Kolkata.

A heart transplant is the last resort of treatment when other treatment options fail to work. However, due to the unavailability of the donor’s heart, there might be a need to postpone the surgery. During this gap, the patients need a little assistance to keep their heart beating. This calls for the need for LVAD, or left ventricular assist device. It is a mechanical pump that is surgically implanted in a person’s chest cavity so as to assist the heart in pumping blood efficiently. Though LVADs may also be recommended as destination therapy, these usually serve as ‘bridge to transplant’, i.e. to keep your heart functioning until you find a donor. You can find some of the best doctors specializing in LVAD surgery in Kolkata. Unlike heart transplant, LVAD does not replace the diseased heart, rather it just helps it to function normally. LVADs have proved to be a boon for all those patients who are waiting for a heart transplant. 

LVAD may be used as destination therapy in the following cases:

  • When the patient is not healthy enough to undergo the transplant, as in the case of elderlies above 65. The sole aim of the procedure, here, is to add some quality years to the patient’s life. 
  • If there is a possibility of reversing the damage or if your heart failure is temporary. 

Living with LVAD

Living with LVAD calls for the need for some changes as you have to adapt to a new way of life. You will have to make many adjustments and adhere to new lifestyle modifications to get used to this new normal. Thanks to the ongoing innovations and advancements, LVADs are getting smaller and better with smaller external components and weightless batteries. Adapting to new changes may seem a bit difficult at first but inculcating these in your day to day life will help to develop a habit. 

  • Exercising – Indulging in physical activities is always beneficial for you, unless your doctors say otherwise, which not so surprisingly, is very rare. While exercising is good for your heart, it is also important to understand that you should not push yourself beyond certain limits. Start slowly and increase your pace gradually. Refrain from indulging in rigorous activities as these can put unnecessary pressure on your heart. 
  • Travelling – There are as such no restrictions on travelling with LVAD, however, you will need to get yourself evaluated before planning your trip. There are a few things that you need to take care of. Notify the airport authorities about the device and that you need to carry the equipment along with you. If possible, always carry your reports on your mobile in digital form. Don’t forget to carry extra packs of batteries.
  • Blood thinners – Patients with LVAD need to take blood thinners as long as they have the device. You will be required to go for regular blood work initially to make sure that your blood is as thin as it should be. These help to bring down the risks of clot formation. Your medical team will elaborate on the same in detail before you are discharged from the hospital.

Bradycardia Is Your Heart Beating Slower Than It Should - BM Birla Hospital

Bradycardia: Is Your Heart Beating Slower Than It Should

Having a slow heart rate is normal in healthy adults and trained athletes, however, if you do not fall in any of these categories, you need help. Normally, a heart beats around 60 to 100 times in a minute, however, people suffering from bradycardia have a heart rate much slower than what is considered normal. This means that the heart is not pumping blood efficiently, which can prove to be life-threatening as there is a deficiency of oxygenated blood in the body. People suffering from the condition require immediate medical help so as to effectively treat the problem before it induces any major complication. People suffering from the condition require a pacemaker, a tiny battery-driven device that helps to control your heartbeat. Pacemaker surgery in Kolkata is offered at all the leading heart hospitals in Kolkata. 

Signs that indicate that your heart is beating too slow 

As your heart is beating too slowly, your organs might not get enough oxygen and this can prevent them from functioning normally. Here are a few signs and symptoms related to bradycardia, as listed by the experts from the best cardiac centre in Kolkata.

  • Syncope or fainting
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • General body weakness and fatigue
  • Breathlessness
  • Angina or frequent chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Problems with memory

If you experience any of these, it does not necessarily mean that you have bradycardia. In fact, there can be many other health issues that can induce somewhat similar symptoms. Hence, it is better to get yourself evaluated before reaching any conclusion. 

What causes bradycardia? 

Bradycardia is usually a result of disturbed electrical circuitry, atrioventricular blockage or problems with sinus node, which may be triggered by any of the following:

  • Severe damage to the heart tissue owing to age-related wear and tear, injury or underlying medical ailment.
  • Congenital heart problems that are left untreated.
  • Myocarditis, which is marked by a chronic infection in the heart tissue.
  • Complication of a major heart surgery.
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • Abnormal chemical balance in the blood.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea caused by frequent disruption of breathing while you are asleep.
  • Inflammatory diseases like lupus and rheumatic disorder
  • Side-effect of certain medicines.

What can you do to prevent bradycardia?

Though you cannot completely prevent bradycardia, you can bring down the risks of the same by resorting to some healthy lifestyle changes. Here are a few tips from experts known for implanting pacemakers in Kolkata. 

  • Keep an eye on the scale. Excess body weight can increase your vulnerability to a wide spectrum of heart diseases, including bradycardia. Set healthy weight goals and commit yourself to achieve these. 
  • Resort to healthy dietary changes. Whatever you eat has a very deep impact on your heart. Hence it is very important to plan your diet accordingly. Choose home-cooked food over-packaged and fast food. Go through the ingredients and nutrition value chart before buying your groceries. 
  • Manage healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This can be done easily by following all the guidelines recommended by your doctor and taking the prescribed medication. 
  • Refrain from smoking. Use of tobacco and other related products can drastically impact your health. Hence it is important to give up the practice to avoid any unnecessary damage to your heart. 
  • Drink in moderation. Excessive consumption of alcohol can severely damage your heart, hence it is important to drink in moderation. However, before doing so, consult your doctor once. 
  • Avoid using recreational drugs. These are not only bad for your heart but your body as a whole. If you are addicted to these, you might need some help in getting rid of the habit.

Keeping Your Heart Problems at Bay After 60

The risks of heart diseases are higher among the ageing population but healthy lifestyle modifications can help to bring these down significantly. As people grow older, they tend to share one major goal – adding quality years to their life. One of the most important tricks to achieve this goal is to defend your body against various heart diseases and ailments. Heart diseases are one of the leading causes of mortality amongst the elderlies and advancing age, itself, is a risk factor for various cardiovascular ailments. Both are bound by a very close relationship.

The best cardiologists in Kolkata suggest that as we age, our body undergoes a lot of changes, and so does our heart. The heart walls become thick and the muscles start to stiffen. This prevents the heart from pumping blood efficiently, leading to fatigue and general body weakness. Some people might also experience the enlargement of the left atrium, which can lead to atrial fibrillation. There are many other such problems that people above 80 years of age are highly vulnerable to.

Falling in the risk category, however, does not mean that you will necessarily acquire these ailments. It is just an indication that you need to take extra care and precautions. To help you with the same, we have listed some simple tips with the help of experts from the best cardiac hospital in Kolkata.

  • Focus on achieving healthy weight goals – In the past few years, the obesity epidemic has engulfed the whole nation. The increasing cases of obesity in the past few years have been quite alarming. Obesity is an open doorway for various cardiovascular conditions like stroke. The excess body weight makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood, thereby increasing its workload. It is also marked by elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides and decreased levels of high-density lipoproteins and good cholesterol. Experts suggest that losing as little as 10 pounds of weight can significantly help to lower the risks of various heart diseases. As such it is very important to lose those extra pounds and get in shape while there is still time.

Weight loss works on a simple principle, taking fewer calories than you burn so as to put your body in an energy deficit. It is not just about losing weight but maintaining a healthy weight. This requires both dietary modifications as well as adherence to an active lifestyle. There is a wide range of diet options available but experts suggest that the Mediterranean diet is one of the best and the most effective amongst these. Replace normal cooking oil with olive oil and prioritize veggies as the main component of your diet. Cut down on your meat intake and eat plenty of starchy foods. If possible, keep a track of your daily calorie intake. There are some apps that can help you with the same. 

  • Replace unhealthy fats with healthy ones – If you still believe that eating healthy means cutting down on fats completely, you surely need to rethink. Not all fats are bad for your health and you do need some of these to keep your system working in a normal fashion. The latest recommendations for the prevention of heart diseases lay emphasis on taking monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. The former is found in canola, peanuts, sunflower oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, and the latter is found in plant sources like flax and walnuts. One of the most amazing things about olive oil is that it elevates the levels of good cholesterol and alleviates the levels of bad cholesterol. Substitute omega-6 fatty with omega-3 fatty acids
  • Stay physically active – Gone are the days when people used to believe that elderlies should refrain from indulging in any kind of physical activity. A sedentary lifestyle promotes weight-gain and negatively impacts your heart health. Though you cannot expect a 60-year-old to perform the same exercise routine as a 20-year-old, you can try low impact exercises like walking and stretching. Consult a specialist to know which exercise will suit you the best.

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