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Heart failure can be reversed, say doctors at Kolkata symposium

With proper treatment, even advanced stages of heart failure can be retracted

Debraj Mitra | Published 07.01.23, 07:37 AM
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Representational image

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Heart failure, fatal in common perception, can be reversed with timely medical intervention followed by a healthy lifestyle, doctors said at a symposium in Kolkata on Thursday.

With proper treatment, even advanced stages of heart failure can be retracted. If left unchecked, early stages of heart failure can soon turn fatal.

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“Heart failure is not a failure of life. With proper treatment, medication and lifestyle, heart patients can lead a healthy life. Even advanced stages of heart failure can be retracted to early stages. Likewise, the early stages of heart failure can worsen if left unchecked. It is a like a spectrum,” said Dilip Kumar, director, Medica Institute of Cardiac Sciences.

Some alarming numbers, based on studies conducted on Indians, were shared at the conference.

  • Twenty-eight per cent of the deaths because of non-communicable diseases in India are attributed to cardiovascular problems
  • Around eight to 10 million individuals in India suffer from heart failure
  • Every 30 seconds, an Indian is diagnosed with heart failure
  • Every year, around 1.6 lakh Indians die because of heart failure n Heart failure in India translates to a post-admission mortality rate of 20 to 30 per cent
  • Around 50 per cent of heart failure patients die within five years of diagnosis

“Heart failure is not a disease per se. It is a situation or a manifestation of multiple conditions. If someone has any substrain, for example, high blood pressure, diabetes, previous bypass surgeries, cardiomyopathy, Covid... eventually all these cases can lead to heart failure,” said Rabin Chakraborty, senior interventional cardiologist at Medica and a speaker at the conference.

Doctors at the conference asserted that heart attack and heart failure were different.

Heart failure means the heart is not able to pump blood as much or as well as it should. When the heart has a compromised pumping ability, other organs get damaged. Blood often backs up and causes fluid to accumulate in the lungs and legs. The accumulation can cause shortness of breath and swelling.

A heart attack, on the other hand, is a medical emergency. It usually occurs when a blood clot blocks blood flow to the heart. Without blood, the tissues lose oxygen and die.

The symptoms of heart failure include chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, swelling of hands and feet, sudden weight gain and sudden fatigue or weakness.

The symptoms of a heart attack include tightness or pain in the chest, neck, back or arms, fatigue and abnormal heartbeat and anxiety.

Kumar spoke of three major goals of heart failure treatment — increase survival rates, reduce hospitalisation and improve the quality of life.

Last updated on 07.01.23, 07:37 AM
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