World Heart Day 2022: Although heart attacks are becoming increasingly common in almost all age groups, many a time we struggle to take appropriate action when it actually hits one. Its symptoms often overlap with that of other health conditions like angina, anxiety attack, acidity, stroke among others. This is the reason many people fail to take timely action in case of heart attack because they feel the chest pain, breathlessness, light-headedness or nausea could be due to other health issues. One should also be aware about the risk factors and important screenings for your heart. Educating yourself about heart conditions could go a long way in nipping the trouble in the bud. Also, do not hesitate to ask your doctor any question that comes to your mind about your heart health as it is important to know about this very crucial organ. (Also read: World Heart Day 2022: Top lifestyle changes to make after a heart attack)
On the occasion of World Heart Day, Dr Anand Parikh, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Wockhardt Hospitals Nashik, answers some frequently asked questions by people about their heart health.
FAQ 1: Are heart attack and stroke the same?
A: No, heart Attack involves the heart also called a myocardial infarction. Stroke involves the brain also called paralysis or cerebrovascular accident.
FAQ 2: Do all heart attack patients die? If I get a heart attack will I die?
A: No, in fact, all heart attack patients can be saved provided they reach the hospitals on time and receive appropriate treatment.
FAQ 3: I don’t think I have a heart attack, I think it is acidity.
A: No, unless and until you get an ECG done, even a good doctor cannot differentiate between the two.
FAQ 4: Does heart attack always mean blockages?
A: No, heart attacks can occur without blockages like blood clots, (plaque) rupture, coronary spasm, dissection, etc.
FAQ 5: What is the difference between angina and heart attack?
A: Angina is chest pain on exertion. Once the patient takes rest, chest pain subsides. Heart attack is persistent chest pain and lasts for more than 10 minutes. During heart attack, pain continues even when at rest and even after taking antacids and painkillers.
FAQ 6: I will get a heart attack only if I have diabetes/hypertension/obesity/smoking?
A: No, you can get a heart attack even if you are non-diabetic or even if you don’t have hypertension, obesity, or even if you don’t smoke.
FAQ 7: I don’t have a family history of heart attacks; can I still get a heart attack?
A: Yes, even if you don’t have a family history, you can still get heart attacks.
FAQ 8: Alcohol only damages the liver, so is it okay for heart?
A: No, wine/whisky are all bad for the heart apart from the liver. They damage the heart muscles even if consumed in small quantities.
FAQ 9: If I totally stop oil, ghee, and butter, will my cholesterol become totally zero?
A: Even if you stop consumption of cholesterol products from the outside, your body still produces cholesterol from the inside for which medicines will have to be taken.
FAQ 10: Will medicine increase my good cholesterol?
A: No, medicines can only decrease bad cholesterol (LDL), they will not increase good cholesterol (HDL). Only exercise can increase good cholesterol.
FAQ 11: My diabetes/BP/cholesterol are all in control, will I still get a heart attack?
A: Yes, you can still get a heart attack but chances become very low if things are controlled.
FAQ 12: I checked my BP sugar, lipid profile, and ECG last year, should I check it again?
A: Yes, they fluctuate from time to time and you need to check them every 6 months. And those who are already on medicines should check them every 3 months.
FAQ 13: My ECG is normal, can I still have a heart attack in the future?
A: ECG shows only past and present, and cannot predict future heart attacks.
FAQ 14: My 2d echo is normal, can I still have a heart attack in the future?
A: Yes, similar to ECG, 2d echo can tell only present and past and cannot predict future heart attacks.
FAQ 15: My TMT is negative, can I still have a blockage and vice versa? My TMT was positive but angiography is normal.
A: Yes, the accuracy of the TMT test is only 70% so this can happen.
FAQ 16: My heartbeat is between 50-60 l, should I be worried?
A: No, the lower the better it is. Unless it is very low, i.e below 40, no need to worry.
FAQ 17: Once I get angioplasty done, will I require further angiography/bypass?
A: No, if you continue taking proper medicine, then the stents can last lifelong.