BENGALURU: An informal survey conducted by two cardiologists in Bengaluru found that 75% of Bengalureans who suffer from a heart failure, reach a cardiologist only at an advanced stage due to the lack of awareness. The survey was conducted on 1,000 patients by Dr Rahul Patil, interventional cardiologist and head of premature heart disease division, Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, and Dr S S Iyengar, consultant cardiologist, Manipal Hospital.
They found that more than 60% of heart failure patients had uncontrolled diabetes and almost 50% of them suffered from high blood pressure. Heart failure is a progressive and chronic condition in which the heart muscle becomes stiff or weak overtime and is unable to circulate blood properly. “Patients ignore initial symptoms and attribute it to old age, fatigue, lack of energy, leg swelling and mild breathlessness while going about their daily activities.
They go to the hospital only when the symptoms become severe, including breathlessness. This leads to multi-organ failure and even death,” said Dr Patil. He said coronary artery disease, which is a block in the coronary arteries, leads to a heart attack which in turn causes muscle damage. Experts have asked people who are vulnerable — those above 50 years, obese, smokers, alcoholics, and those who suffer from diabetes and hypertension — to be more aware.
“At times, patients develop compensated heart failure, where the body adjusts to a change in the heart’s pumping ability, which goes undetected. Their condition deteriorates suddenly and they come to a hospital with low oxygen saturation levels,” Patil added. “It is imperative for patients with chronic conditions like diabetes, coronary artery disease, heart valve diseases, congenital heart diseases and patients on anti-cancer drugs, to get themselves screened regularly for heart failure. Early diagnosis and treatment can help in its prevention,” said Dr Iyengar.