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The rebirth of a heart patient

One morning, 60-year-old Faisal Khan felt excruciating pain in his chest. He noticed that he was also sweating profusely. But all he did was to casually ask his family doctor to come for a check-up. Faisal was surprised when the family doctor told him to rush to a hospital instantly. At the hospital, the doctors told him that he had had a massive heart attack. Very calmly, they also told him that he was on the verge of death! Before his stunned family could recover from the shock, Faisal was admitted to the ICU. Despite being told that the triple vessel blockage he had could turn fatal anytime, Faisal refused to get a surgery done.

That was in 2006. Just a year later, he not only survived, but also looked hale and hearty and went for walks. Mr.Khan loves the beauty of Kashmir, was feeling sad that he will have to give up his hobby of trekking and asked Dr.Pratiksha, whether he can go to Gulmarg for trekking. He underwent stress test and after clearing the tough test he was allowed to go to Gulmarg. In last four years he go for trekking every year to Himalayas. That was thanks to the miracles of preventive cardiology. Dr.Pratiksha said it is very important to rehabilitate the patient and make him achieve what he desires to do, as it boosts the morale of the patient.

With around 17 million people dying of heart diseases every year across the world, preventive and non-invasive techniques of heart treatment are being increasingly favored by the medical fraternity. And statistics also seem to support their views. According to some recent studies, the major incidences of cardiovascular disease are reduced from 8–10% per year to less than 2% per year due to secondary prevention therapies and advanced medical management.

“India currently has around 10 crore heart patients. A majority of them simply cannot afford the prohibitive costs of heart surgeries. That is why, on World Heart Day on September 26, we are focusing on reducing the risk of heart disease through simple, preventive measures and non-invasive treatment,” says Dr. Pratiksha, India’s first woman preventive cardiologist who is at the forefront of the World Heart Federation’s “I Work With Heart” campaign in India.

With an estimated 60% of the world’s heart patients in the next two years, India has already achieved a distinction it will certainly not be proud of – the world’s heart disease capital. And considering that at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke can be avoided with simple non-invasive preventive measures, they assume even greater significance in India, she points out.

In fact, it was Dr. Pratiksha, a pioneer in preventive cardiology in India, who saved Faisal from death as well as heart surgery. “Thankfully, Dr. Pratiksha gave me a choice. While she suggested surgery too, she said that if I did not want it, they could also help me improve with advanced medical management,” Faisal says.

His therapy included half-hour of yoga exercises and medicines recommended by Dr. Pratiksha, along with other non-invasive techniques. “I felt a distinct improvement after the first three doses. And I knew I had taken the right decision by coming to her,” he says. And when his family doctor and a relative, also a doctor, indicated their skepticism, a confident Faisal decided to convince them too. “I got an angiography done just to convince them. It showed that the blockage on the right side had reduced from 95 per cent to 30 per cent and that on the left side had cleared completely,” Faisal says triumphantly. “And what was even better was that the cost of this treatment was just one-sixth of that of a surgery,” he adds.

“Over 80% of India’s ailing people pay for their medical expenses from their own pockets. A vast majority of them are too poor to afford even simple medical treatment. In such a scenario, simple preventive measures like changing their lifestyle, diet and exercises can radically reduce their medical expenses. In more complicated cases, advanced medical management techniques, like the one used for Faisal, can drastically reduce the death rate due to heart attacks and that too at a very low cost. It is high time we spread awareness about them on a war-footing. Otherwise, it may be too late,” Dr. Pratiksha warns.

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