Rise of heart attacks in winter: Cardiologists urge people to follow healthy lifestyle
Post by M Peerzada on Monday, November 27, 2023
Srinagar, Nov 26: As heart attacks double in winter months in Kashmir, doctors on Thursday advised people to take precautionary measures at home and adhere to a healthy and active lifestyle to avoid risk factors.
Over the years, as winter sets in, major tertiary care hospitals in Srinagar witness a twofold increase in heart attack cases, accompanied by a rise in winter-related deaths.
Dr Nasir Shamas, a consultant physician at JLNM Hospital Rainawari, highlights the surge in heart attacks during winter months, particularly in Chilai Kalan. Studies indicate a 20 to 40 percent likelihood of increased heart attacks during the winter season in Kashmir.
He said they see 20 to 30 percent increase in chest and heart-related illnesses saying that winter months commonly bring a higher incidence of heart attacks, chest pain, and strokes.
Shamas said that people need to take precautions adding that people suffering from hypertension, diabetes and chest ailments are vulnerable.
The doctor said generally elderly people should avoid extremes of cold and those suffering from diabetes or other ailments should take less quantity of salt and don’t miss medicines.
He said people should avoid morning walks in and trips outside during winters so that it does not affect their heart as has been seen in the past.
Senior Cardiologist, Department of Health, Dr Shahid Iqbal Tak, said the risk factors for coronary artery disease which lead to heart attack include smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, family history of coronary artery diseases, sedentary lifestyle, obesity and stress are other likely factors.
“The trend of heart attacks is on a rise at global level and so in Kashmir also. As the lifestyle of humans is changing fast, so is the scenario of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) , especially heart attacks. Addiction to social media has rendered people physically handicapped. Sedentary lifestyle is not only seen in office-going class, but in children too,” he said.
Tak, who has been dealing with heart disorders for more than 10 years, said heart attacks usually come suddenly and at times stress-full situations, that are so common in this part of the world, make its appearance dramatic.
“We have to make society aware of the risk factors for cardiac diseases and they have to act upon it. People have to change their lifestyle, abandon smoking, go for a walk every day, keep body weight under control, treat hypertension and they have to keep their blood sugar and cholesterol levels under control,” he said.
In context with Kashmir, Dr Shahid said drug addiction is a risk factor as well as a precipitating factor for heart attacks.
“There are some particular drugs which affect the heart, one such drug is cocaine. But we have not seen such cases in Kashmir. The drug users can suffer sudden heart attacks and their blood pressure gets high and it can cause death. There is a possibility of such cases in Kashmir also but they might be hiding their history,” he said.
The cardiologist suggested a 45-minute brisk walk every day for every healthy person to maintain his/her cardiac health.
“I will recommend all to remember “6 S”. Decrease your SALT intake to control hypertension. Control your SUGARS. Cut down your STRESS level. STOP smoking. Find SOLACE in meditation. SWIM daily or go for a brisk walk,” he said.
As per doctors coronary artery disease is a lifestyle disease and 70 percent of it can be prevented by lifestyle modification like staying smoke free, eating a healthy diet, regular exercise maintaining ideal body weight, stress reduction etc.
The doctor said for the treatment of heart attacks the first hour of chest pain is the golden hour when one gets maximum benefit and people have to be very alert.
“As soon as a middle-aged male/female experiences retrosternal pain radiating to the left arm he should rush to the nearest health facility and an ambulance should be called,” Dr Shahid said.