Q1. What are the types of Heart Disease?
A: There are 4 forms of Heart Disease:
1. Congenital Heart Disease (Hole in the heart, Blue baby etc.)
2. Valvular Heart Disease (generally occurs after Rheumatic fever in children and adolescents)
3. Lifestyle disease (Coronary artery disease)
4. Degenerative Heart Disease (Like calcification of valves, aneurysms etc.)
Q2. Are all Heart Diseases PREVENTABLE?
A: Yes! Dr. Ganesh Mani, Chairman, Cardiac Sciences, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, mentions below points on how you can decrease the incidence of heart diseases.
1. The Incidence of congenital heart disease is relatively higher in regions where marriages are between ‘related’ persons. (Consanguinous marriages). Education & Genetic counselling can reduce the incidence.
2. Prompt institution and continuation of Penicillin/Antibiotic Prophylaxis in diagnosed cases of Rheumatic fever can prevent valve narrowing or leakage.
3. Life Style Disease can be prevented by watching one’s weight, blood pressure and diabetes.
Avoidance of ‘S’ is the thumb rule!
S - Smoking
S - Sugar
S - Salt
S - Stress
S - Sedentary habits
S - Spirits in excess
4. Degenerative Diseases are not as preventable as the former three. But regular checkups, early diagnosis and treatment can prolong life.
Q3. How do we know if we have heart disease?
1. Congenital heart disease of a serious nature manifests in infancy and childhood. But if left untreated, many children may die or become inoperable in later life.
2. Valvular heart disease manifests in school going children who withdraw from games, feel disinterested in climbing stairs or start panting on mild exertion.
3. Coronary Artery Disease can be suspected due to the sudden onset of new symptoms like:
- Chest discomfort (Aggravated by exertion or meals)
- Unusual breathlessness on exertion.
Q4. What is the diet recommended for Heart patients?
1. Avoid excessive fluids if the child has heart failure.
2. Should have nourishing diet and avoid excessive salt intake.
3. Coronary Artery Disease and Degenerative heart disease.
Animal products can increase cholesterol levels especially Red meat.
Plant products like vegetables, fruits and nuts do not increase cholesterol at all.
Carbohydrates (rice, sugar, wheat) should be taken in limited quantities as
Diabetes predisposes to heart disease.
Q5: Can all types of Heart Disease be treated by surgery or intervention?
1. Corrective open heart surgery can be done for all children if they are not rendered inoperable by waiting!
2. Narrowed valves can be opened by balloon in cath lab. Derranged valves can be repaired or replaced by substitutes mechanical for young tissue for old.
3. Angioplasty and stents are indicated in short segmental blocks and Coronary Bypass Surgery is indicated in long multiple or total blocks, especially in Diabetics.
4. If valves are degenerated, that can be safely replaced with tissue valve substitutes which last about 20 years.