Why you should read this blog?
This blog is highly beneficial for those who have already suffered a heart attack in the past. Coronary heart disease (CHD) can be a killer.Thus keeping yourself aware of all the factors that leads to CHD and how to take care of complications once you have suffered a heart attack must be on your priority list. All in all, to sum up, this blog helps provide info about CHD and how to prevent CHD. If you have already suffered a CHD, this blog will help you to deal with high medical expenses and where to look for proper help if you already suffered a heart problem.
What is coronary heart disease?
CHD or coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of heart attacks. This is a condition in which the coronary arteries get clogged with cholesterol deposits.
Chances of developing CHD is increased by smoking, diet with high fat intake, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension or high blood pressure and being overweight or obese. Having a member of your family with a history of CHD will increase the risk if there is a male relative under 55 and a female relative under the age groups of 65.
Which factors contribute to heart attacks?
Heart attacks are caused when the blood supply to the heart artery is interrupted or blocked. Without the blood supply, heart muscles are damaged and the person may die. Without any proper treatment, the heart muscles will face irreparable damage.
If a larger portion of your heart is damaged and stops beating, this may lead to cardiac arrest or even result in death.
Direct and long term medical costs
A sudden heart attack can lead to immediate expenditure including the cost of ambulance, diagnostic tests, hospital charges and costs of cardiac intervention. Long term expenses after you have suffered a heart attack include buying drugs, regular testing and appointment visits to the cardiologist.
How to protect yourself from skyrocketing medical expenses
Protect yourself and your family members after suffering from a heart attack. Here is what you could do to curb the medical expenses of heart diseases:-
Look for cheaper alternatives including medication – Generic substitutes might work quite well and are reasonable cost saving alternative. Most drug companies will offer assistance that will help purchase medicines at discounted prices.
You must have a life insurance policy – An adequate life insurance policy can help protect yourself from any possible mishaps. You must know precisely what your policy covers.
Disability insurance – If you are healthy at the moment, get disability insurance just in case you meet with any mishaps in the future. If you cannot work or is permanently disabled, disability insurance would help. But if you are already had a heart attack or heart disease, disability insurance might be somewhat a distant dream.
Changing your lifestyle can help cut the risk of heart disease – Get more physical activity. Exercise regularly to lower blood pressure, improve your cholesterol level, control obesity and which in turn lowers the risk of heart disease.
Improving your diet – Cut down on junk and oily fatty foods. Eat less salt if possible. Sodium directly affects and contributes to high blood pressure. Reduce the amount of salt used as much as you can and also pay attention to packaged foods that contains 75% to 80% of salt.
Try and stress less – Stress less as reports show that lower tension will significantly help reduce stress. Involve yourself in different stress buster activities like deep breathing, various breathing exercises, yoga and meditation.
Quit smoking – Stop smoking as this is one of the most important ways of reducing heart diseases.
Your heart healthcare team can assist you
If you had a heart disease at some point of time, it is well advised to develop good relationships with all the members of your medical team. Talk to them honestly and openly. You must keep them informed about symptoms of heart disease or changes in your health condition, so that they can better assist you. Follow respective recommendations to handle your condition and lead a hearty and healthy life.
Diagnosis and risk assessment of heart disease
If the GP thinks you are at the risk of CHD, then you might as well go for risk assessment. You could also undergo all tests including blood test to assess your cholesterol level, blood pressure and remain aware of your medical history.
Further tests would include electrocardiogram, x-rays, echocardiogram, coronary angiography, MRI scans and CT scans.
Who’sin your healthcare medical team?
There is the primary care doctor, cardiologist and a team of other doctors. Then there are clinical nurse specialists, practitioners and physician assistants, physical and occupational therapists, dieticians, occupational and physical therapists, mental health professionals, and social workers and dieticians.
Treatment and care to prevent heart disease
Health care professionals can perform CPR, to high tech surgeries, and caregiving. There are a number of interventions including CPR, bypass surgery, angioplasty and stents. They are best suited to treat heart diseases when the coronary artery is blocked. A new pathway for blood to move might be created. Pacemakers are attached to send electrical impulse to the heart muscle and keep up with a suitable heart rate. Heart transplants is yet another alternative especially when there is a severely damaged heart causing severe heart failure and medicinesare not enough to cope up or fix the issue.
Blood thinners can prevent the risk of heart attacks by thinning the blood and preventing it from clotting. Some of the commonly used blood-thinning medicine includes low-dose aspirin, clopidogrel, rivaroxaban, etc.
Planning for an advanced heart failure
This is an important part of decision making, in an advanced heart failure stage. This is to clarify how you can plan your future treatment in consultation with your medical team. This entire process of anticipating scenarios of the future and choosing your preferences is called advanced care planning. Following are associated with advanced care planning:-
- Health decisions that you have to make in the near future
- Be clear about your preferences and goals
- Discuss what’s important and what’s not with your family doctor
- Documenting your plan so they can be updated in the near future
Major aim of the palliative care is to assist patients live a better life by relieving their symptoms and enhancing their quality of lives. Palliative care can always be provided when you need it at any stage of illness. Unlike hospice receiving palliative care can be continued after a heart failure. Here is what the palliative care can provide you with:-
- Relief from heart failure symptoms and relief from pain
- Spiritual and emotional support for your family and you
- Help make complex treatment decision
- Help with practical issues and insurance directives
- Caregiver support service including grief counselling and respite care.
Dr Bikash Majumder is a well renowned heart specialist in Kolkata. He is considered to be one of the most well-known and trusted cardiologists who can utilize his vast experience in the field of cardiology both within the country and abroad. Apart from coronary interventions, he can perform permanent pacemakers, and ICDs.