What Do You Think Ischemia Is?
We have to ask this before we talk about heart disease! Well, in case you are at the end of your wits, ischemia refers to a condition in which blood flow in the body is restricted in a part of the body. This reduced blood flow means that the usual supply of nutrients and gases is affected as well. This means that the normal supply of oxygen that is critical for our body tissues is also interrupted. The consequences are dire, it is perfectly understandable why ischemic diseases are one of the top mortality factors, worldwide. In this discussion, our focus will be on ischemic heart disease, which is also known by terms like coronary artery disease and coronary heart disease.
Defining Ischemic Heart Disease
Now that we have established the definition of ischemia, let us talk about ischemic heart disease. This term is used to describe the heart problems that are caused narrowing of heart arteries. It is important to understand what does the narrowing of arteries means for heart health. Well, in case of an event like this, the amount of blood (and oxygen of course) is affected severely. As a result, a patient suffering from ischemic heart disease is likely to feel severe chest pain. The term angina pectoris is used to describe this chest pain. It is pertinent to mention here that sometimes, an ischemic episode happens without any pain. Ischemia in this case is dubbed as silent ischemia. Diabetic patients and patients with previous cardiac health issues are at risk of developing silent ischemia.
Symptoms of Ischemic Heart Disease
In this section of the discussion, we are going to talk about the symptoms of angina pectoris. As mentioned before, the primary symptom of ischemic heart disease is chest pain. However, there are some other clues as well, which can give the lead to this life-threatening condition. These include:
1- Neck pain
2- Jaw pain
3- Shoulder pain
4- Irregular heartbeat
5- Fatigue & sweating
A combination of these symptoms necessitates an immediate visit to the hospital, where the patient might be put under observation until the risk of heart attack is established or denied with absolute surety.
Causes of Ischemic Heart Disease
Now, let us talk about the probable causes of myocardial ischemia, the most common reasons for this terrible condition. There are certain conditions of the myocardial system that can lead to ischemic heart disease. These include atherosclerosis, blood clotting, and spasms of coronary arteries. These conditions can lead to the build-up of plaque in the blood arteries and thereby obstruct the blood flow in the process. It is worth mentioning here that the chest pain that is a key feature of ischemic heart disease can be triggered by several factors. These include exercise, stress, extreme temperatures, and substance use/abuse e.g. cocaine overdose.
Ischemic Heart Disease and Pakistan
In low-income countries like Pakistan, managing and treating ischemic heart disease is quite a challenge. Center for Disease Control & Prevention estimates that 8% of the total deaths caused in Pakistan are by ischemic heart disease. This puts ischemic heart disease as the top mortality factor in the country along with other diseases like cancer, lower respiratory infections, and stroke. A study published in the American Heart Journal suggests that one out of four middle-aged adults in Pakistan has prevalent coronary artery disease. Both men and women are at an equal risk of falling prey to ischemic heart disease. The disease has assumed the form of an epidemic in the country, only radical steps can change the situation.
How to Avert the Risk of Ischemic Heart Disease?
It is important to understand that there are certain risk factors for ischemic heart disease that must be managed to avoid the disease. Some of these risk factors include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and smoking. Keeping a lid on things can be extremely helpful in minimizing the risk of ischemic heart disease, those who are at risk of developing any of the aforementioned conditions have to make sure that they are well out of the danger zone. Making changes in lifestyle can be extremely helpful in this regard.
Cost of Treatment
In an event where a patient does fall prey to this disease, managing the cost of treatment becomes quite a challenge itself. Thousands of dollars are required to manage coronary artery disease! The fatal CAD events can cost as much as 17-20 thousand USD. For those who hail from countries like Pakistan, managing and treating ischemic heart disease becomes quite a challenge. The underprivileged patients wouldn’t have had much hope, if it was for not organizations like Transparent Hands.
Let us familiarize you a bit with this organization’s doings in the concluding remarks of this discussion. When it comes to crowdfunding for health, there is no platform bigger than Transparent Hands in Pakistan. The range of healthcare services offered by Transparent Hands is astoundingly vast. From medical and surgical treatments to medical camps and telehealth facilities, the NGO makes sure that the underprivileged Pakistanis have access to quality healthcare services. The NGO believes in creating a patient-donor bond while making sure that the protocols of transparency aren’t breached at any point. The NGO realizes the need for free medical camps in the rural areas, hence it actively sets up such camps as well. To donate, donors can log in to the Transparent Hands crowdfunding web portal from anywhere in the world. Payment modes are one hundred percent secure. Every donor has absolute freedom in selecting and funding patients of their choice. The NGO makes sure that regular updates until complete recovery are sent to the concerned donor.
That would be all from this discussion. As this discussion has explained in detail, ischemic heart disease is a terrible condition to fall prey to. Hence, taking all the preventive measures and keeping risk factors at bay is extremely important for living a healthy life. Making a few changes to your lifestyle sounds like a much better idea than losing your life to this killer disease, right? Remember, a healthy heart means a happy life! Well, with these wise words, we bid you farewell from this space!