Even most of the medically acquainted people today often get confused between heart attack and heart failure, what to talk of the less literate ones ! To understand this difference, one has to first get to know about the mechanism of functioning of heart.
The Function of the Heart
The main function of the heart is to ensure blood supply to different organs. This is done by regular beating of the heart. This beating is ensured by an electrical impulse produced by the heart muscle on its own. As every other organ, heart muscle too, requires regular blood supply to meet its daily expenses. The particular artery which supplies the blood to the heart muscles is known as the coronary artery.
What is Heart Attack?
Now, there are several factors like excessive intake of fat, smoking, lack of exercise etc. which may cause blockage in the coronary artery. The result will be lesser blood supply to the heart muscles eventually causing the deadening of heart muscle which is technically known as myocardial infarction, or in more common terms, heart attack. The severity of the heart attack will depend upon the extent of the blockage. This blockage is checked by a diagnostic process called coronary angiography. If found, the cardiac surgeon tries to clear the process through another intervention called angioplasty. If there is a chance of relapse of the blockage, or constriction of the artery, an implant known as stent is placed inside. However, if the cardiologist finds it difficult to clear the blockage, that portion of blocked artery is bypassed and blood supply is restored from some other part. This is known as the bypass surgery.
What is Heart Failure ?
Heart failure or cardiac arrest is an electrical failure of the heart muscle. As discussed earlier, for proper and regular beating of the heart, electrical impulses are generated in the heart muscle. Due to several reasons like ageing, or blockage of impulse routes in heart, it may go slow, irregular or stop at all. Such event may cause irregularity in the rhythm of the heart. A faster hear rate called tachycardia, while the slower heart rate is called bradycardia. There is another case where the heart beat goes irregular, the case known as arrhythmia. A special case where the heart goes slower sometimes and faster at some other occasions, is known as the sick sinus syndrome. In case of complete failure of this electrical impulse, the heart stops immediately, the condition known as the cardiac arrest or heart failure. Any such electrical irregularity could be easily detected by a simple ECG.
You may also like: How Mindfulness can change your Life?
To regulate this electrical activity, an artificial device called pacemaker is implanted. This is an instrument which acts as a silent spectator till the heart is functioning on its own. As soon as the impulse rate falls below 60 beats per minute, the device starts generating impulse so as to maintain the beating in the desired rhythm. Artificial pacemakers are single chambered and dual chambered, The latter one ensures the better coordinated heart rhythm as it supplies the impulse to both, atrium and ventricles of the heart via separate electrodes.
Be informed and take the right decision !!
You may also like: Bad Effects of High Cholesterol
Rising number of medical shops and the competition among them to hike their turnover is leading to another kind of problem in India i.e. Prescription drugs/ Schedule H medicines which are meant to be sold only on the written recommendation of a registered practitioner are readily available to everyone. Schedule H drugs are those which may have serious side effects on our body. A doctor must analyze the individual requirement and repercussion before prescribing them. And people have to avoid medication without prescription.
A common medicine which I find most of us taking very readily for headache and other pains is a schedule H medicine having the combination of paracetamol and ibuprofen. Ibuprofen in some patients might have many serious side effects like increased risks of heart attack and stroke, stomach ulceration and bleeding etc.
This is very much necessary to make a thorough assessment of the patient by an experienced doctor regarding the side effects of the drug on the patient. Self medication of such drugs could instigate a chain of events in our body which might prove difficult for a doctor to control and may even prove fatal in later stage. Moreover to maintain a proper dose and complete the full course of schedule H medicines is also very necessary, in absence of which, the disease might get complicated or resistant.
How to recognize a schedule H drug?
There is a red vertical line running throughout the length of the strip of prescription drugs. One must look for this symbol while purchasing any medicine on his own. If found, a doctor must be consulted before starting any such medicine. Even if you don’t wish to go the legal way and consult a doctor, you must ask the pharmacist regarding the side effects of the medicine and evaluate its relevance for you.
The simple urge is that please don’t rely on self medication at least for those drugs which are listed under schedule H and have a red vertical line running across their strip.
Avoid self medication ,avoid life threats !
What is Tuberculosis?
TB stands for Tuberculosis disease which is a kind of bacterial infection, manifesting itself primarily in the people with weak immune system. Such weakness is in turn linked to poor nutrition which finally finds its root in poverty. In developing nations like India, poor hygiene, malnourishment, poverty and lack of proper health facilities are compounding the statistics behind the disease.
What to talk about the downtrodden, the disease is finding its dwelling ground even in the elite of Chai-Samosa culture. The strange thing that most of us don’t know that the bacteria of TB (Tuberculosis) is much popular in the air all around us attacking each one of us every moment. But our body is mighty enough to kill any such infection. Only when the weak immune system of few of us loose the battle, the symptoms appear.
Is Tuberculosis can be cured completely?
Yes Of course, tuberculosis is fully curable. But this requires proper and regular medical intervention. Regularity of medication is very important because any such gap could make the bacteria drug resistant to that particular type of antibiotic. A new line of treatment for longer duration is required in case of drug resistant tuberculosis.
Hence, in a country like India, which is having majority patients who are illiterate and unaware about the significance of regularity of medication, doctors and medical staffs always face a challenge.
To counter this challenge, the strategy of DOTS was formulated which stands for Directly Observed Treatment, Short-Course. Under this, a designated person from the community, not necessarily a healthcare professional, is appointed who just ensures that the patient takes the prescribed medication daily and regularly. The observer makes the patient take the medicine in his own supervision. This ensures that there don’t occur any gap in the course of medicine and thus, any chance of the disease turning resistant is reduced.
Most of us confuse that DOTS is the medication for Tuberculosis (TB). However, the fact is that this is just a strategy to appoint a monitor who makes the patients take all the medication in front of him daily.
Don’t stigmatize the disease !
Also read: Say Goodbye To Monsoon Illness
One of the hallmarks of a developed nation is providing “healthcare to all”. Has India achieved it so far? The answer is a big NO. There are many reasons for it. One of the biggest concerns is the Lack of Awareness. People are still dying of the diseases like tuberculosis that are fully curable. Many people suffer from hypertension but have never bothered to check their blood pressure.
I am not interested in discussing the reasons for our abysmal healthcare, but want to share a very sad experience of my maid. She suffers from hyperthyroidism with Graves disease and also has infertility along with some cysts in the uterus. Pooja (name changed) has been admitted for removal of these cysts in a premiere hospital in Delhi three times but discharged every time without surgery because of her hyperactive thyroid. For the poor lady preparing herself mentally, physically and financially for the surgery is a difficult task. I do not doubt the doctor’s credibility and I do believe that they must be doing the best for her but I pity her state of helplessness and above all her lack of awareness. She stops taking medicine whenever her thyroid profile is normal presuming that she no longer needs it, without seeking doctors’ advice. She is not aware of her health condition properly, she does not understand the nature of the treatment she is receiving and how the surgery will help her. All she understands is getting her surgery done and getting well as soon as possible so that she can get back to work and earn her bread and butter. I felt so sorry at her ignorance when she asked me “Didi ! Thyroid, liver mei bhi hota hai”. That is what somebody had told her that she has a thyroid in her liver!! This is a relatively simple case; at least Pooja knows that she has a health condition that needs attention. There are countless number of people in the world who are ignorant about their health problems.
In developed nations health is the first priority but here in India everything else seems to be more important than health. Last few months witnessed too much of hue and cry over pollution in Delhi and a welcome step like odd even formula was implemented. But how many people stayed indoors to avoid the toxic air? We need to give it a serious thought!!!
Ibuprofen on an empty stomach may cause Stomach Ulcer..
My Uncle, and IAS, went to my native place to celebrate Holi. As usual, the typical Indian delicacies were served. Before even enjoying them, he took Ibuprofen as he was suffering a tooth ache. Within hours, he suffered from massive stomach ache- the delicacies being held has the culprit. We all rushed to the nearest nursing home. The doctor was quick to diagnose, Ibuprofen empty stomach, as the culprit. A thorough stomach was being done to relieve him.
Ibuprofen is an over the counter painkiller and anti-inflammatory drug widely used. Few people know that if it is taken empty stomach, it can corrode the inner lining of stomach and can cause severe ulceration. In more severe cases, bleeding may start. The maximum permissible dose of ibuprofen is 2400mg/day. Any dose beyond this are bound to cause the side effects. This must be kept in mind that this drug is never taken empty stomach. Paracetamol can be a more preferred drug of choice which can be taken empty stomach and don’t have any such side effects.
Ibuprofen Other side effects
commonly Side Effects include :
- Stomach pain
- Upset stomach
- Gas problem
- Itching in eyes
- Itching or Rashes
- Diarrhea, etc.
And Instant Contact with your doctor If you anything feel like :
- Signs of heart attack
- Stomach Ulcer
- Signs of Stroke
- vision change
- Shortness of breath
- Anemia : pale skin, high BP,etc.
- Kidney Problem: pain while urination , swelling in your feet and ankles,etc.
- liver Problem: stomach pain, dark urine, etc.
Normally an Adult dose for Osteoarthritis
400mg to 800mg in every 6 to 8 hr
May be increased by the doctor’s prescription Upto 2400mg .
An Adult dose for Pain
200mg to 400mg in every 4 to 6 hr as required.
An Adult Dose for Fever
200mg to 400mg in every 4 to 6 hr. as required.
patient have to well hydrated before ibuprofen doses.
It is very strange that the doctors prescribe antibiotics for every second complication. To add to its complexity, cases of self-recommended antibiotic is also not less. People don’t hesitate using them even for a common cough and cold. The simple fact is that cough and cold are viral infections and can’t be cured by any antibiotic which are meant to destroy bacteria. Although, in cases of prolonged infection, secondary bacterial infections do occur, for which doctors are supposed to prescribe antibiotics after proper evaluation. But definitely, they are not required in every such case.
Also read: 10 Surprising Facts about Antibiotics
Due to their overuse, more and more bacterial strains are getting resistant to antibiotics which is a cause of urgent attention and concern. The government should keep a proper check on their circulation and make them a strict prescription drug.
Health checks ?
Well preventive health checks simply means regular visits to doctor for normal health check-ups.It’s really frustrating that most Indians go to hospital only after falling ill. Majority of the population are still unaware about the relevance of preventive health checkups. One really carries the ailment until it grows to pose as a challenge before the doctor, which he could proudly carry to the clinic as a trophy. A country having 62 millions diabetics, and 10% of its population suffering from hypertension, necessary annual checkups of person above 40 is the need of hour. Our food habits are really more rich which makes us poor in the hands of modern age Dhanvantris (doctors). Lots of ghee , lots of butter, no soup, no salads….! What is the result? Of course the above data don’t surprise!
Preventive health checks are designed in a fashion so as to give an insight into all the the incumbent ailments and make us prepare in advance to face them in an efficient and life magnifying manner. There lies a social responsibility on the part of the government to make such checkups available at all the government hospital free of cost. Agreed!! Our medical infrastructure lacks……..The hospitals are already overburdened with serious patients. But can’t the government just act in a more responsible fashion and start from an awareness campaign regarding preventive health check and gradually stretching the list of government hospitals having such facility.
Dear would be patients! Don’t carry the time bomb tickling until it blasts. Come on!! Lets detonate it.
Generally, in elderly patients with complaint of hypertension, the doctor prescribes a blood thinner like aspirin, warfarin etc. to reduce the chances of stroke. Our brain vessels are one of the most delicate ones and gets easily ruptured by the pressure of blood having high viscosity in hypertensive patients. Once ruptured, this may result into brain hemorrhage or stroke. Any damage to brain is irreparable. Hence it is of utmost importance to keep a check upon the viscosity of blood so that such damaging effects could be avoided.
Now, I would narrate two short stories involving two characters – one my mother and second my uncle.
My mother has 15 years old history of hypertension and was on aspirin for the above reasons since her very diagnosis. Monsoon 2011- Dengue mania breaks out in Delhi as usual. We go to Medanta hospital for routine checkup of my mother. Dr. Balbir Singh, Senior interventional cardiologist there stops the blood thinner in view of my mother’s marginally low platelet count. Four years since then, we don’t bother to consult any cardiologist to restart the blood thinner. Diwali 2015- My mother diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and when the cardiologist came to know that she is not on blood thinner since last four years, he really panics. Atrial fibrillation patients have relatively high degree of risk of stroke. After immediate control of fibrillation, Dr Upendra Kaul, senior cardiologist at Fortis hospital, for whom we really carry high degree of regard, prescribes the blood thinner Pradaxa [dabigatran etexilate mesylate]. After brainstorming at google for hours, I concluded this to be among the most proffered blood thinners worldwide in contemporary times. My mother’s heart gave her another miss (of course, not a long one) when she came to know that one tablet of Pradaxa costs Rs.70. When we went to Dr Kaul for review, she knowingly asks him- Do I need to take this medicine twice daily? (although she knew the answer). Dr Kaul replied affirmative with a short glance towards her (as if he knew the real intent behind the question). Now as both the participants understood the theme of the dialogue, my mother unhesitatingly said in a dim voice “It’s too costly’’. I still remember Dr Kaul’s equally dim but meaningful words echoing ‘’ what’s costlier than a life!!’ She was convinced. Still I tried to find a generic more economical alternative for pradaxa, but in vane. Just I got more convinced when I went to my native place, a remote district in Bihar. There my family physician asked me’’ Are you taking Pradaxa’’ . I replied affirmative. I could see the mixed feeling in his eyes. He said ‘’ Even I wish to prescribe this medicine to my patients here, but if I start with such medications , my clinic would soon get shut down with the allegation of my patients regarding my liaison with pharma companies’’.
Another story involves my uncle, again a patient of hypertension since last 10 years. He now resides at the countryside village enjoying mother nature in true sense. He got so embossed with the untarnished environment there that he started having the confidence that he doesn’t need any medications now. What happens next? No medication for hypertension, no blood thinner, no mediation with doctor, direct transmission to The Almighty!! He is lying in the ICU of Sir Gangaram Hospital with severe brain hemorrhage.
Oh My God !! Bless us !!
The simplest definition of ill health is that it is opposite of health i.e. it refers to any deviation from normal functioning or the state of complete mental, physical and social well being.
Disease, ill-health, illness, and sickness need to be differentiated as they don’t imply the same meaning.
- Ill Health: The term ill health refers to a diseased condition that prevents an individual’s optimal physical, mental and social well being.
- Disease: The term disease primarily refers to physiological dysfunctioning. Though, these days, the term expanded to include within its purview, psychological dysfunctioning as well.
- Illness: It is a subjective state of a person who feels aware of not being well. Therefore, it alludes to the nearness of a particular sickness as well as to person’s recognition and conduct in light of the malady. It also the effect of the ailment on the psycho-social condition.
- Sickness: A state of social dysfunctioning. It is a role that a person assumes when ill. It is therefore quite possible to be a victim of disease without feeling ill and to be ill without having any physical impairment.
This feeling of illness depends upon a number of personality variables like pessimistic outlook, jealousy, hostility, insecurity, lack of self-control, etc.
In recent years, the term lifestyle diseases have been coined to refer to the disorders that are caused by many health damaging personal habits. Psychologists have identified a number of behavioral risk factors that increase the chance of illness. These include overeating, lack of exercise, unsafe sexual practices, drug and alcohol abuse, violence etc. Cognitive variables like attitude, beliefs and value system too play an important role in determining sickness. Interpersonal relationships, neighborhood and person’s socio-economic status are also the major determinants of this psychological state. Negative dispositions and sentiments of defenselessness and misery can make interminable pressure. Which irritates the body’s hormone adjust, exhausts the cerebrum chemicals required for joy, and harms the resistant framework. Unending pressure can really diminish our life expectancy.
See More: Mental Health