Monday, March 20, 2023
Home Health Neil "saves" a life on a random evening in Goa; is it...

Neil “saves” a life on a random evening in Goa; is it India’s new endemic?

Neil Fisherman, a deep-sea diver was out one evening in Goa with his wife when he heard cries of distress and ran to help.

For Neil and his wife, it was going to be a great date evening and they were out to relax not even suspecting what the evening held for them in the next few moments.  He was there at that time, to help someone in a situation that many  “victims” are not fortunate to get in time because delay can be fatal.

In Neil’s words he writes, “My wife and myself were going out for a date to Phoenix City and we got delayed and as I drove out, I saw this old gentleman waving frantically.  I stopped.  The man cried, “Please help my son is not responding”.

I told my wife, “See if any of our resident doctors are around.  I rushed out to find his 42-year-old muscular boy slumping down.  I checked his pulse, there was strong breathing present but no reflex.  I looked around to see only frail women around.  Knowing there was no time to waste, I hoisted him on my shoulders in a fireman’s lift and rushed down the stairs, and put him in the car propping a pillow under his head.  He is now in the  ICU.  Scans done show clots.  Prayers 🙏🏻 what’s happening..🙄

Neil reported later, “The man has been operated on to ease the pressure on the brain due to intracranial bleeding and is in the ICU.  I later came to know that he had a past history of hypertension but being young was avoiding medication and was still into gym training and power yoga.  The family has a history of hypertension.  I feel many young people avoid medication and try to manage hypertension on their own without expert advice.

Heart Attack Endemics In India

The recent Bengali actress Aindrila Sharma’s sudden death raises the question of why young are dying of heart attacks rapidly, in recent times. She passed away at the age of 24 after suffering from cardiac arrest. Earlier this year, renowned singer KK passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest at the age of 54 after performing at a concert in Kolkata.

Comedian Raju Srivastava, too, passed away this year after suffering from a heart attack while exercising at the gym at the age of 59. Young people, who followed healthy diets and did workouts and also passed away suddenly. A recent video on Twitter shows a man dancing on stage at a wedding and he suddenly collapses in front of everyone and dies in front of them, to their horror.

School students have also died suddenly of heart attacks.

In this, 30 percent are middle-aged and youngsters with no conventional risk factors like smoking, high BP, diabetes, etc. Dr Abhijith Kulkarni, Cardiologist, Apollo Hospitals, says though there is no exact reason for such MI incidents, “lifestyle choices, your diet plan, workout routine and how you manage your stress levels can influence the possibilities of an attack”.

Some people believe these sudden deaths have increased after the COVID-19 vaccines and it is a point to explore as some may have got certain reactions to the vaccine.  However, after the administration of the vaccine, it is clear that the death rates in India have gone down.

Why are heart attacks occurring in young people these days?

These sudden deaths are alarming. Indians, according to several studies, are genetically more prone to heart diseases than the rest of the world population. And at a time when heart diseases claim the highest number of lives in the world, it is further important to understand the underlying cause of the same.

In India alone, more than two million heart attacks occur annually. One person dies of it every 33 seconds. Several studies have pointed out that cardiovascular diseases (CVD) strike Indians a decade earlier compared to their Western counterparts.

The human heart is a powerful resilient intricately designed organ beating over 2.5 billion times over an average lifetime pumping gallons of blood to trillions of cells to keep you alive and active.  Angiogenesis is the process by which new blood vessels form, allowing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the body’s tissues to help the heart to thrive.

What Doctors Say

Doctors state the key reasons for the early onset of heart diseases in young people could be poorly regulated gym practices, excess intake of gym supplements like protein powders and steroids, negligence toward heart health, overtraining, eating too many saturated fats, not relaxing into workout routines overstressing the heart, not going for regular health check-ups to ascertain the risk of high cholesterol or hypertension. A lot of the targeted strata of people are young men more than women, actors, socialites, celebrities, and now even students.

Not Taking Blood Pressure Medicines When Diagnosed with Blood Pressure

In the most recent study of strokes and sudden deaths, a lot of the people diagnosed with blood pressure were simply not taking their medicines.  They were either trying to exercise more, gym more, or trying to take a healthy diet, and even while cutting down on salt, it was not enough.  They needed the blood pressure medicine and eventually, their overworked and not-so-normal heart collapsed under the stress.

Once diagnosed with blood pressure, a person has to take the medicine for life.  It is as simple as that.  The man that Neil helped was also diagnosed with blood pressure and he was a strong man into gym training and power yoga and felt that was enough.  But it was not. Indians also need to go for regular health and blood pressure checkups, something that not many believes in.

Lifestyle, Stress, Lack of Sleep

Sleep deprivation is a silent killer. It disrupts your body’s circadian rhythm and makes you prone to heart attacks. Several studies and scientific journals link sleep deprivation with increased inflammation in the heart. You could eat healthy good and exercise regularly but if you are sleep-deprived, meaning, you get less than seven hours of sleep, your body can crash some day. Now, each person is designed differently, and some people, go with less sleep but outlive the normal years. What works for someone else, may not work for you which is why you have to work with your threshold. If you go beyond your threshold, you can break down.

Working night shifts and not getting sleep during the day is a killer. The secret to a healthy life is good sleep, magically the essence of good quality life. Sleep calms blood pressure, and heart rate, regulates body temperature, balances hormones, and even carries out detoxification at cellular levels and the body heals during sleep. Make sure you get at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep, if not more, each time.

Stop extreme blue light exposure
Staying on gadgets all night raises your exposure to blue light which represses your sleep hormone, melatonin. Darkening your room when you sleep increases the melatonin. This suppression of melatonin has been linked to a high-risk factor for cardiac disease, stroke, and heart attacks. Poor sleep can make you prone to a string of diseases like diabetes, insulin insensitivity, Alzheimer’s, poor skin, hair fall, and bad hair all cause inflammation.

Laugh A Lot!

Laughter releases your feel-good hormone, endorphin, and also lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke. Human beings flourish in a state of happiness. Do anything that makes you laugh. Laughing lowers your stress hormones, regulates blood pressure, decreases inflammation in the arteries, and increases good cholesterol.

Don’t be a Couch Potato!

The more you exercise your heart, the more powerful becomes because it is a muscle. Do what you enjoy the best, yoga, walking, swimming, dancing, aerobics, Zumba, and keep the body moving which are all immensely beneficial for your heart health. They increase your heart rate making it work more and improving its capacity to pump blood under stress.

Ha-Ku Chinese Breathing Method

Try the Ha-Ku breathing method where you inhale with a HA sound and exhale with a KU sound as this pushes oxygen through the lungs. It helps us squeeze the heart to pump more blood. Following the pattern rushes oxygen-rich blood towards your heart, which is exactly what is required during a heart attack or cardiac arrest. It improves the oxygen saturation level of the blood (SpO2) which can be life-saving.

Do not overwork and Overtrain

Over-gyming can be dangerous. Overworking or overtraining out with little or no rest or recovery period is as harmful as under-exercising. So, figure out the adequate level of activity your body needs and stick to that schedule. We often come across marathoners skipping sleep to run long marathons and thinking of it as a cool thing to tweet about, not realizing that it’s putting their hearts in danger. If you have to overtrain because your exercise goals demand it, adding rest and recovery to your plan is a must.

Avoid Smoking and Passive smoking

Every puff you take increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes not just for you but also for those who breathe in the passive smoke by 20 to 30%. It causes inflammation and increases oxidative damage in the body.  Smoking can damage your blood vessels, causing atherosclerosis and blockages. The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke increases your blood pressure and heart rate and forces your heart to work twice as hard for oxygen.

Limit and Use the Right Salt

Use pink or rock salt, or a combination of both depending on what works for you. If you have too much potassium in your system, you may be advised to stick to regular table salt. Sodium is important to maintain optimum blood pressure. Keep your medical professional in the loop and make a learned decision while switching salts.  Taking the right kind of salt also plays an important role in preventing the risk of heart attacks. Avoid consuming large quantities of refined varieties of salt, because they can be inflammatory.

Go for regular screenings

No matter what the age, going for regular screenings and investing in preventive wellness can go a long way in identifying risk factors and eliminating them.

What to do if someone is having a heart attack

Make the person sit in a slightly reclined position
Move the person to a more ventilated area
Administer aspirin or sorbitrate
If a person is sweating profusely or their pulse is low, do not administer sorbitrate
Ask the person to cough
Seek immediate medical attention
A person suffering from a heart attack should receive medical care within one hour.

Neil concluded, “Hospital walls have heard more fervent prayers than any holy place as I looked around the ICU waiting room…sunken eyes clutching to hope..🙏🏻hidden tears and grief the helplessness.”

Indians can end this endemic if they took their heart issues more seriously.  It was wonderful that Neil was there to help the man that day, but how many lives can be saved in the nick of time?  The old saying goes, “A stitch in time saves nine” Prevention is better than cure.

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