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February - March 2005


Heart Attack! Are you at risk?

by Dr Dinesh Kapoor

Much has been written on prevention of a heart attack for the lay public and I am not saying anything different. I am simply attempting to put all the recent evidence in a simpler form for the readers of India Link. I hope that some of you will benefit from the prevention strategy given below.

People at risk from a heart attack are:

Smokers: Smoking damages the inner lining of the blood vessels, thus increasing the chances of a clot formation.
Hypertensive Patients (High BP): Around 30% of people have high blood pressure without knowing it! 27% of the population suffers from hypertension.
People with high blood Cholesterol: Cholesterol is an essential constituent of our bloodstream but an excess of it helps the formation of a clot within our blood vessels.
Diabetics: Diabetics are more at risk from a heart attack
Obese (overweight) people
Sedentary lifestyle
Stress (or your reaction to stress):
It is not uncommon to suffer a heart attack a day or two after a stressful event in the office or at home.
Family History of heart attack

How can you prevent a heart attack? (You cannot do much about being an Asian male and having a family history of heart disease!)

Stop smoking
Lose weight
Take gentle exercises regularly
Avoid stress and relax in between hard work
Eat sensibly (include five portions of fruits a day)
Know your safe limit for alcohol consumption. Excess alcohol weakens the heart muscles.

What is advised by doctors for prevention of a heart attack:
A for Aspirin (Take a soluble mini aspirin every day unless you are intolerant or allergic to aspirin, or you have a stomach ulcer)
B for Blood pressure control (Keep your blood pressure under control. Request a BP check appointment with the practice where you are registered)
C for Cholesterol control (Below 4.5 is preferable, but the lower the better. Request, not demand, a blood test from your practice)
D for Diabetes (Do your best to avoid diabetes. Request a regular blood test to know your blood glucose level, which should be between 4.5 to 5.5)

In the next issues I shall attempt to simplify causes and treatment of high blood pressure and high cholesterol amongst Asians.

Dr Dinesh Kapoor is the senior Admin. Partner in a 4-GP practice in Leyton, London. He is also a GP Trainer and is an Executive Committee member and clinical lead for Coronary Heart Disease for Waltham Forest Primary Care Trust since 2001.

Since becoming a GP in February 1982, he has held numerous executive positions in the Local Medical Committee and in the Health Authority. He was also the President Of Indian Medical Association (GB) from 2001-2003.

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