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3 Heart Tests to Add 30 More Years to Life

3 Heart Tests to Add 30 More Years to Life

Do you know what causes sudden death? There is only one thing which leads to such a situation, and that is the “heart attack”.

There was a headline in Times of India Kolkata on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.

One in 4 heart ailments patients in city under 40.

I am shocked in the sense that I have been aware and heard so many stories of people in their 50s and 60s going home after work, event etc. and not coming back the next day because they just gone (died) suddenly.

Kolkata is a big city and the fact that one in 4 people under 40 years of age suffering with any ailment, is a cardiac patient. Even I find it mind boggling!

It was also clearly mentioned, and I am not surprised that people under 40 are more likely to die from a heart attack.

Because that is when you least suspect the heart attack at such an age.

In India, we cannot afford to have a heart attack. Even if we know we are having a heart attack, we cannot do much about it because there is no time, means, or environment to take the person to the hospital in less than 10 minutes or less than 5 minutes.

In such a situation, the only answer is either we should anticipate way before heart attack or do not have a heart attack.

How do we do that? For that, we have to know about our heart.

 There are only 3 blood vessels or tubes which supplies all the blood to the heart and if any one out of these 3 tubes is blocked, that can lead to heart attack.

I can understand that people under 40 or 50 or 60 years of age which is a very, very young age-group in my definition and in my profession especially practicing in US for the last 30 years where such a sudden death is almost unknown.

Sudden death happens because of the heart attack but when we get to the point where we have heart attack, such a situation does not happen in one day. It takes almost 20 years to get to the point where our heart blood vessels are so much blocked that they eventually lead to heart attack.

Even treadmill stress test is only positive when heart block is 70% or more than 70%.

Do we really want to wait that long?

How do we find out about your heart? Answer is obvious to me that we do 3 simple tests which are totally noninvasive and easily available and very cost effective and have to be done every 5 years.

One is ECG, costs about Rs. 200; the second one is 2-D Echocardiogram or ultrasound of the heart costs about Rs. 1000; and, the last one is the CT Angiogram where we hang water through IV to the patient and put color in it. That color goes to the heart and we do CT scan. Software takes picture which tells us how heart tubes are filling-up with the blood or is there any blockage.

This test may cost around Rs. 10,000, so we can get done everything between Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 15,000 and get all the information about our heart.

If all 3 tests are normal, I can give in writing you are not going to have a heart attack in the next 5 years, and we do not need to repeat these tests before 5 years. I highly recommend that if we start these tests at age 30, statistically risk is very low, but we do get a baseline, and then every 5 years we see what is happening. If we see blockage happening or increasing, then we can address it and consult a doctor and we can even reverse it.

Just spending Rs. 12,000 every 5 years can save our life, and we can add 15 to 20 years to our life because technology is so good that it can deal with heart issues if we already know about it.

To be very honest if we have sedentary lifestyle, we smoke, we drink, our cholesterol level is high, we need it more than anyone else because technology will help us to keep going and prevent the heart attack.

My Mamaji’s son last year went to our niece marriage/sangeet ceremony. He had a good time, came home, went to sleep, and never woke up and he was hardly in his 60s. Such a tragic incident of sudden death!

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