Save yourself from a heart attack

Save yourself from a heart attack

The other half can be preceded by warning signals of chest heaviness, of choking that clears away shortly. The classical symptoms of a heart attack are compression in the middle of the chest which may spread up to the lower jaw, left or both shoulders and arms and occasionally down to the stomach pit. Some people describe this as the worst pain ever experienced in life associated with a feeling of impending doom. The pain is associated with ghabrahat — excessive sweating, nausea or even vomiting.

The silent killer: Nearly one third of heart attacks can be silent, without classical chest pain. This usually happens in patients with diabetes or the elderly. These patients could only have the associated symptoms of sweating or ghabrahat and nausea. The elderly could faint or have unusual breathlessness associated with sweating or nausea

What to do during an attack

- Don’t waste time: As soon as you suspect a heart attack, don’t waste any time and alert someone without hesitation. Most importantly, don’t exert at all.

- Immediate medicine: First and the most vital thing to do at home is to dissolve a tablet of aspirin in half a glass of water and drink it.

- Golden hour: Next, locate the nearest medical centre where an electrocardiogram can be performed or call for an ambulance.  Try to get to a cardiac care facility within an hour of the onset of symptoms.

- At the hospital, the cardiologist will have an option of either administering a clot buster injection to abort the heart attack or perform an urgent angioplasty to unclog the blocked heart artery that caused the heart attack.

Diet prescription

- Reduce fleshy food: The incidence of high BP, heart disease, obesity and high cholesterol level is found to be greater among non-vegetarians. Older people, who suffer from these problems, should reduce the intake of fleshy food in their diet.

- Red meat: Meat that is rich in saturated fats is considered bad for the heart and consist of LDL.

- Veggies win: A vegetarian diet consists of less cholesterol and also has a type of protein that reduces the bad cholesterol in the body

- What to avoid: Non-vegetarians should avoid organ meats such as liver, kidney, brain, sweetbread, egg yolk, crabs, shellfish such as prawns, lobsters, fist roe like caviar as they are rich in cholesterol

- Prepare lean cuts of meats, fish and poultry by boiling, roasting, baking, steaming or cooking with a small amount of oil

- Numbers: 75 grams of chicken or fish contain 15 to 20 grams of protein, no carbohydrate and a gram of fat, adding up to 80 kcals.

(The author is Director, Invasive Cardiology, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute)