‘Pandemic resulted in delayed reporting of cardiac issues’

Webinar on heart diseases held as part of The Hindu Wellness Series

COVID-19 has resulted in the delayed reporting of cardiac problems, said K.P. Suresh Kumar, chief cardiologist, Kauvery Hospital, here on Saturday.

Addressing a discussion through virtual conference on cardiac emergencies organised as part of The Hindu Wellness Series in association with Kauvery Hospital, he said owing to the fear of contracting SARS-CoV-2 infection, many people with symptoms related to cardiac problems decide to postpone or avoid visiting hospitals.

Stressing on the need for immediate medical attention, ideally within two hours, in case of a heart attack, Dr. Suresh said any delay could result in irreversible damage to the heart and severely reduce the chances of saving life.

Pointing out that many people misinterpret a heart attack as ordinary pain in the chest, he said a thumb rule could be to get medical attention if the pain one experiences is very different from any experienced before.

He highlighted the need to not ignore some atypical symptoms of cardiovascular problems like unexplained fatigue and exertional breathlessness.

C. Sundar, senior consultant cardiologist, Kauvery Hospital, highlighted how changes in lifestyle and food habits had increased the risk of cardiovascular disease. He said 28.1% of deaths were attributed to the ailment.

While only 3.5% of the young population screened had hypertension in 1990, it was 14.5% in 2017. Regular exercise and balanced dietary habits were crucial in preventing cardiovascular disease.

Giridhar Gyani, director general, Association of Healthcare Providers (India), spoke on how non-communicable diseases had become the major disease burden for India. He said around 63% of India’s disease burden were non-communicable diseases, of which cardiovascular disease was the majority.

Arguing that preventive measures were better than curative measures, Dr. Gyani said the Ayushman Bharat Scheme of the Union Government focused on some of these preventive measures. “The scheme is not just about insurance. The setting up of 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres across the country will play an important role in addressing the non-communicable disease burden,” he said.

Stating that COVID-19 had helped in taking stock of health infrastructure, he expressed hope that it would help in strengthening it.

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