Heart ailments remain the biggest killer; Here is what you can do

According to the latest statistics, 1.73 million people have died as a result of the coronavirus. However, it is still not entirely clear how deadly COVID is due to the lack of accurate data. However, we know that cardiovascular problems, breathing problems, and neonatal diseases are the longest leading causes of death. And even this year, 2020, heart disease, including ischemic heart disease and stroke, remains the leading cause of death. We spoke exclusively to Dr. Ramakanta Panda, a leading cardiovascular chest surgeon, executive director and vice chairman of the Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai, on heart disease, how COVID affects heart problems, and what people can do to protect their heart. Here is an overview of the conversation

Why does heart disease remain the main killer in 2020?

Heart disease has been the leading cause of death worldwide for 20 years. However, it is now killing more people than ever before. The number of deaths from heart disease rose more than 2 million since 2000 to nearly 9 million in 2019. Heart disease now accounts for 16% of all deaths from all causes. Lack of basic health care, poor diet, poor lifestyle, and increased stress are the main reasons why heart disease will remain the main killer in 2020.

Indians are more prone to heart disease for a number of reasons, such as: B. Sedentary lifestyle, poor fiber deficiency, high carbohydrate diet, non-regular monitoring of their health parameters, addiction to sweets and alcohol, genetics and so on. During the coronavirus pandemic, that risk for the population already at risk increased even further.

What were the most common complaints among heart patients during the pandemic?

People with heart problems needed medical help, but not all came forward. Many were afraid of getting the coronavirus in healthcare facilities. People with heart problems can be especially careful as cardiovascular disease is linked to severe coronavirus illness and a higher risk of death. Others wiped their symptoms off, assuming doctors are too busy with coronavirus patients to treat them. Both of the above categories of people – their problems get worse and their heart disease gets far more serious. Those who received medical help during the pandemic showed excessive stress and anxiety-related pain. This was beyond the symptoms of heart disease. There was also some news that ace inhibitors (blood pressure medication) could be harmful – so this was also a cause for concern as people stopped taking medication. This led to a deterioration in their health. The period from mid-March to September was characterized by a high volume of COVID-related work and a low availability of doctors. Patients feared what would happen if they went to hospitals. Those admitted in an emergency were treated in very risky settings, and many of them who underwent angioplasty during that time had stent blockages. due to various factors.

How does COVID affect the heart?

Cells in the lungs and heart are both covered in protein molecules called ACE-2 protein. This is the door through which the new coronavirus enters cells and multiplies. ACE-2 usually plays a beneficial role in protecting tissues by acting as anti-inflammatory. However, if the new coronavirus somehow deactivates these molecules, these cells can remain unprotected when the immune system comes into action.

Temporary or permanent damage to the heart tissue can be due to several factors:

Lack of oxygen: Coronavirus causes inflammation and fluid that fill the air sacs in the lungs. As a result, less oxygen gets into the bloodstream. The heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body, which can be dangerous in people with pre-existing heart conditions. The heart can fail from overwork or insufficient oxygen can cause cell death and tissue damage in the heart and other organs.

Myocarditis: The coronavirus can directly infect and damage the muscle tissue of the heart, as can other viral infections, including some strains of the flu. The heart can also be damaged and inflamed indirectly by the body’s own immune system reaction.

Covid heart

Stress cardiomyopathy: Viral infections can cause cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disease that affects the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively. When the body is attacked by a virus, it is exposed to stress and releases a barrage of chemicals called catecholamines that can numb the heart.

Cytokine Storm: There is a possibility that our body’s immune system will launch an attack on the invading virus. The body releases a deluge of proteins called cytokines that help cells communicate with each other and fight off the invaders. These ultimately destroy healthy tissue and damage organs such as the kidneys, liver and heart.

What are the lifestyle changes that can be followed to protect the heart?

The holy grail of any pandemic is “prevention”. This requires an age-old trio of 45 minutes of daily exercise, a balanced diet, and a positive attitude. In addition, recent studies have shown that even being slightly overweight is a major risk factor for all age groups. Obesity is not just a cosmetic problem. It’s a medical problem that increases your risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer. It also significantly increases the risk of COVID complications. So measure your weight daily and try to get as close to your ideal weight as possible. Maintaining a BMI (Body Mass Index) between 18.5 and 24.9. Inhaling steam and consuming vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and B daily are musts. However, it is important to check your values ​​and get a doctor-prescribed dosage.

The March 2020 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine spoke of high levels of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, likely due to other factors, including high viral load in the upper respiratory tract and the infected person’s potential for viruses in the process secrete and transfer asymptomatic. The authors discussed reported high virus titers in the oropharynx at the beginning of the disease process and the possibility of increased infectivity during the period of minimal symptoms. “Inhaling steam can be of great help in this scenario to prevent or reduce the severity of COVID. Thanks to the lockdown, staying locked at home for a long time with uncertainty about the coronavirus pandemic can be a reason for people to be stressed out and have negative thoughts, which is not good for the heart. It is very important to stay calm and be positive. Yoga in the morning can be a great balancing factor for everyone. Maintain your social network remotely and communicate regularly with your friends and family.