KOCHI: Is heart disease tied to poverty? For, cardiologists testify that a large number of economically backward sections not only have to struggle hard to make both ends meet but also fight against the killer disease cardiomyopathy, that can lead to heart attack.
“The patients who consult us with the disease are mostly the poor than the wealthy,” doctors say.
Cardiomyopathy occurs when the muscles of the heart loses its elasticity leading eventually to heart failure.
Inviting the attention of the policy makers, doctors point out that the majority of patients who underwent heart transplantation in the state due to cardiomyopathy were financially-weak.
Dr Jose Chacko Periappuram, senior cardiac surgeon with Lisie Hospital, here, said that though major research is needed to assess the causes, “the ‘poverty’ factor is viewed strictly on the basis of our experience with patients”.
The most common form of cardiomyopathy is dilated cardiomyopathy usually found in patients who underwent heart transplantation. People with cardiomyopathy are often at risk of dangerous forms of irregular heart beat and sudden cardiac death. The symptoms of the disease are breathlessness and swelling of the legs.
Dr Periyappuram said that owing to economic burden, the poor tend to elude treatment.
“Hence, there are many diseases which go unattended gradually giving way to dilated cardiomyopathy, which remains dormant,” he explained.
The surgeon also points out that it is high time an intense research in this regard is undertaken. Insufficient medication during fever especially viral fever and delivery can also lead to the disease.
People in the coastal belt are more prone to this disease as they often get contaminated water, says Dr Jacob Abraham, chief cardiac anaesthetist.
“Unhygienic condition serves as a catalyst for the disease. The absence of the manifestation of the disease also creates trouble. The organisms somehow might have entered the body of the patient, but it fails to manifest,” he said.