What to do if you have heart disease

In the previous two articles, we have discussed how to assess if you are at risk of heart disease, and how to confirm or rule it out. This will result in one of the three scenarios:

  • You have gone through your physician’s examination and investigations, and he declares that you do not suffer from heart disease. Before you start celebrating, please understand that it may mean "for the time being". If you are at risk, you still need to modify your lifestyle, lower your risk factors, and have a periodic reassessment programme.
  • Your physical examination and investigations suggest that you have coronary artery disease, and you need to undergo Angioplasty, or a Bypass Surgery. You may plan it, and get it done.
  • The third scenario, is critical. You are aware that you are at risk, but before you can undergo your physician’s examination and investigations, you suffer one of the symptoms, which we discussed in previous article, namely chest pain/backache, pain in upper abdomen, "gas" like features, with/without sweating, weakness, giddiness, light-headedness, or any other feature that can signal heart disease.

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What to do in such a case

  • Firstly do not panic. When you are excited, worried, or frightened, your heart starts beating faster. This is the worst thing for a heart with deficient blood circulation. Take a few deep breath, and stay composed.
  • Take rest. It decreases the oxygen demands of your heart.
  • Call emergency services of the hospital where you go for your checkups, or your family doctor, or in states where 1-0-8 Services are available, call 1-0-8.
  • Take an Aspirin, unless it has been forbidden on medical advice for some other condition.
  • Keep your medical folder updated at all times, because cardiac events do not give you time. Ensure that it contains a list of medical conditions you are suffering of, the medications you are on, and a list of drugs you may be allergic to.
  • Ensure that your medical folder invariably has documents and details pertaining to your medical insurance.

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About Mukul Saxena 34 Articles
Col (Retd) Dr Mukul Saxena has over 30 years of cross-functional expertise in healthcare, both in public and private sectors.