Is Winter Heart Attack Season?? Cold seasons can be troublesome for old age groups or someone with heart issues. There are increased chances of heart attack because of change in barometric pressure, wind,humidity and extremely cold temperatures. Because of negative temperature, there is narrowing of blood vessels, thickening of blood, and increasing load on the nervous system. Cold weather decreases the supply of oxygenated blood to cardiac muscle. And because of this heart has to work harder; as a result, the heart needs more oxygen-rich blood. Because of these changes a person may experience pain, shortness of breath, nauseous. These are a few signs of heart attack.
You can avoid winter heart attack by following a few simple tips:
Stay warm, wear in layers. Do not forget to wear caps, socks, hand gloves. Appropriate winter clothing can protect you from cold waves and therefore keep you safe from heart troubles.
Avoid excessive drinking
Red wines or any drink with good cholesterol is good for our heart but should be taken in limit. Avoid consuming alcohol before going out in winters as it expands your blood vessels and you may feel warmer but actually it is eliminating your vital organ’s heat.
Eating healthy and balanced food is best to have a happy and healthy heart. High quality fat, protein , legumes, green vegetables, fresh fruits, lean meat, eggs , fish, low fat milk, are heart friendly. Be heart smart and choose your diet wisely!
Come inside often
Limit your cold exposure and don’t exert yourself too much. Snow exposure or walking in speed with wind blowing your side. Give yourself a break and come inside a warm house to protect yourself from continuous cold waves.
Get a flu shot
In Winter the chances of flu due to low humidity and indoor heating increases .During this pandemic chances of Covid and flu is highly dangerous in anyone with heart disease.As of now you can only maintain social distance for Covid 19 but get a flu shot for general flu. And if you feel yourself developing symptoms of the flu, talk to your physician before medicating.
Winters bring joy and happiness but for a few groups it can be psychologically stressful. So be prepared to handle cold waves in advance. Stay warm and protect yourself by covering in layers. Act wisely and be heart smart! And in case of emergency visit our clinic as we have best cardiologist in Gurgaon.
Heart diseases are the leading cause of death in India with the stats showing more than 28% of deaths in India are due to unhealthy heart. So keeping your heart healthy and happy is very crucial for your long life. Our heart is a very delicate organ and an unhealthy lifestyle can be stressful for our heart. There are many things we can avoid or eliminate from our day to day life to keep our heart happy. Here I am listing 6 ways to keep your heart happy and healthy. Following them can change your life forever.
Fresh fruits and green leafs , low sodium canned drinks, vegetables,high fibre cereals, healthy fats,low fat- protein foods like eggs, legumes, lean meats, fishes should be included in your meal. Avoid full fat milk, butter, oils, bacon fat,coconut , unhealthy fats,refined flour, fried products. Intake of sodium in salts, canned soups, ready to eat food should be minimized. Avoid junks and restaurant food to keep your heart happy.
Say no to substantial drugs, quit smoking and drinking. Avoid being a passive smoker. Avoid Tobacco that is going to help your heart and blood vessels to be disease-free. Studies reveal that smoking is the top most risk factor for coronary artery diseases. Quitting tobacco and alcohol can be overall helpful for your health along with your heart.
Stay Active And Stretch Out
Stretch Out , exercise, jog and keep moving. Staying active keeps you energetic and is good for your health. It helps you to stay flexible, strong , relaxes you and reduces your stress. Stress is an important risk factor for deteriorating your heart’s health. Yoga and meditation can also show positive effects on your heart. Stay active and stretch out!
Obesity is the storehouse of many diseases . It is said that by 2025 , India will be second largest country with obese population in the world i.e 17 million people in this category. Reduce your calories, use stairs instead of lifts/ elevator , have a balanced diet, keep moving and decrease your BMI for a healthy heart.
Indulge in Sexual Activity
Playing between sheets can be good for your heart. Yes, sex reduces your stress, you engage in some workout and it is more than just a fun or pleasure. It decreases your BP and risk of any cardiac diseases.
Raise a glass
Say no to alcohol and raise a glass of water to stay hydrated. You can also add a little quantity of red wine that has good cholesterol in it. Moderate drinking promotes good heart health. But when it comes to regular drinking , it is bad for your overall health.
Staying positive about life and living a stress free life is a key factor to keep your heart happy. You can travel , have pet therapy , eat dark chocolates,enjoy your life and stay healthy. Stay away from bad habits and cut out your fats. For any kind of query or any risk of cardiac diseases consult Cardiac Second Opinion as they have best heart specialist in Gurgaon.
Acute Coronary Syndrome is a condition in which the blood flow to the coronary artery suddenly decreases. Because of this, the blood does not reach the heart in sufficient quantity. As a result, a person may have a stroke, angina, or heart attack. This is usually due to fat deposits on the walls of the coronary artery. Due to these arteries, the heart gets essential nutrients and oxygen. If sufficient oxygen reaches the heart, the cells of the heart muscle may die. A heart attack is more likely in such a situation.
Symptoms of acute coronary syndrome
1- Chest pain, also known as angina. In addition to chest pain at times, pressure and burning sensation are also felt.
2- This pain passes from the chest to the shoulders, arms, and neck.
3- Vomiting starts and digestion does not happen properly.
4 – There is difficulty in breathing.
5- Suddenly, you start sweating and get tired.
However, these symptoms may vary according to the person’s age, gender, and medical condition.
What are the reasons for this and who is at risk?
When fat accumulates on the walls of the coronary artery, then block occurs. Due to this, neither the blood flow nor the nutrients reach the heart properly. In such a situation, the cells of the heart muscle die, but even if there is no death, these cells become so weak that they cannot function properly.
For the treatment of acute coronary syndrome, it must be detected first. ECG is done for this, which is known as an electrocardiogram. Also, this syndrome is detected through blood tests and cardiac perfusion scans. Based on these tests, doctors decide whether the symptoms are angina or a heart attack. Then treatment is started accordingly.
Explain that acute coronary syndrome is a medical emergency. That is, it requires immediate treatment. If any person shows the above-mentioned symptoms, he should contact the treating doctor as soon as possible.
In some people, acute coronary syndrome can be prevented. Heart disease can directly cause the acute coronary syndrome, but people who do not have heart disease can protect themselves by practicing healthy lifestyles:
Following a heart-healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet that includes whole grain, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.
Do not smoke: People who smoke and take drugs can take counseling to help them quit.
Staying active: Engaging in regular exercise to stay physically fit. Have to do moderate exercise at least 2-3 hours a week.
Paying attention to numbers: People should know their blood pressure and cholesterol levels and understand what the optimal range of numbers mean.
Maintaining a healthy weight.
Drinking alcohol in moderation: Drinking one or more alcoholic beverages per day can increase blood pressure.
In addition to their daily medication, people who have had problems such as heart attacks in the past may also be instructed to take a child’s aspirin. Aspirin helps prevent platelets from forming clots and helps reduce the risk of another heart attack by about 22 percent.
In today’s modern lifestyle, people are getting heart diseases at the age of 30 to 40 years. In the last two decades, due to the wrong lifestyle, stress, non-exercise, and carelessness in food, people have started getting serious heart-related diseases
According to a report by the Indian Heart Association, 50 per cent of heart attacks occur in Indian men by the age of 50, and 25 percent of heart attacks in Indian men by the age of 40 years.
What is heart blockage?
When phlegm accumulates in the walls of the arteries located in the heart, the disorder arising from it is called heart block or heart blockage. Due to modern and fast-changing lifestyles and eating habits, the problem of heart blockage is becoming common in most people. Apart from this, the problem of heart blockage is also congenital. The problem of congenital blockage is called Congenital heart blockage while the later problem is called acquired heart blockage. Electrocardiogram (ECG test) is done to check the heart blockage.
Causes of Heart blockage
Blocks are a mixture of cholesterol, fat, fiber tissue, and white blood cells, which slowly cling to the walls of the veins, causing heart block. Block formation varies according to its thickness and its tendency to break (nature). If it is thick and hard, then such a block is called stable and if it is soft it is considered to be broken and is called an unstable block. This disease is caused by Balancing Vata Dosh.
This type of block grows slowly. In such a situation, the blood flow gets an opportunity to find a path to the new Arteries, which is called Collateral Vessel. This vessel bypasses the blocked artery and carries the necessary blood and oxygen to the heart muscle. Stable block does not matter the amount of obstruction, nor is it likely to cause a serious heart attack.
In a temporary block, when the block breaks, a dangerous clot is formed and collaterals do not know the full time to develop. The muscle is severely damaged. So many times, the patient has gone through a sudden heart attack or the patient becomes a victim of Sudden Cardiac death
Heart blockage symptoms
Heart blockage occurs at different stages. There are no special symptoms in the first or early stage. In the second stage, the heartbeat decreases slightly and in the third stage, the heart starts beating intermittently. A heart attack may also occur at the second or third stage, so it requires immediate treatment. Other symptoms of heart blockage are:
It is a good medicine used in heart blockage. It reduces bad cholesterol from the body and strengthens the heart. It also contains oxidizing elements. Regular use of it removes shortness of breath and reduces heart diseases.
It contains phytochemicals that prevent the layer of arteries from being damaged as an antioxidant. Drink one cup of pomegranate juice daily.
Turmeric serves to open closed arteries. Curcumin is the main constituent of turmeric. It has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to prevent blood clotting. Turmeric should be consumed daily in hot milk.
Lemon is a powerful antioxidant-rich vitamin C, which helps improve blood pressure and reduce arterial inflammation. Also, lemon cleans the arteries by lowering blood cholesterol levels and preventing oxidative damage in the bloodstream.
For this, mix a little honey, lemon juice in a glass of lukewarm water and pepper powder. Take 1-2 times a day for a few weeks.
If you feel these symptoms of heart block, a doctor should be contacted immediately: –
Inter-chest pain and persist for a few minutes.
Feeling uneasy pressure on the chest
Pain in shoulder and spreading pain to the neck and left arm. This pain may be mild or loud. This may cause stiffness or heaviness. It can also occur inside the neck, jaw, chest, upper abdomen, and arms.
Discomfort or excessive sweating
Vomiting or diarrhoea
To avoid heart block, your lifestyle should be like this:
Do not consume cigarettes or any other smoking as it has a direct effect on the arteries of the heart.
Take 7-8 hours of sleep every day and reduce anxiety.
Hope this would help you! In case of any queries, you can ask in the comment section!
In some patients infected with corona, the symptoms of a heart attack have been seen instead of the symptoms of the disease. However, it was seen in older patients. Surprisingly, even in some preliminary investigations, these symptoms came from heart disease itself but later it was found that the cause of these symptoms is an infection of the corona in the lungs.
Our breath is always vulnerable to the coronavirus because it enters our body only through the breath. New information about this Virus is being given by the Medical Scientists. Some patients of Corona were found in other countries, in which the symptoms of this disease were not seen at the initial stage. Rather they had symptoms of a heart attack.
Does COVID 19 affect the human heart?
Based on the initial screening and the symptoms seen in the patients, it was believed that the corona affects the person’s respiratory tract and lungs only. But as the cases of corona infection continued to grow, new information about it started coming out. The corona increases inflammation in the heart muscle, causing difficulty in pumping the heart and blood supply. This causes severe chest pain and sometimes the speed of the beats is also affected.
Risk increases in heart patients
Heart patients need to take extra care to avoid COVID because compared to normal people, if the heart patients get corona infection, then their risk for life is up to 10 %. That is, the risk becomes double for them as compared to normal people. Corona infection first affects the lungs. After this, the other organ of the body becomes vulnerable to it. Lack of oxygen in the lungs also affects the heart. A lot of caution is needed.
Risk of life increases in these diseases
As per the Cardiologists, patients with diabetes, hypertension, or blood pressure, along with heart patients, also have a manifold increased risk of corona infection.
If compared to normal people, like heart patients, the risk of infection in patients with diabetes increases by 6 % and the risk of high BP increases by 7.3 %
This is how heart patients should take care
There are only two most important things for heart patients right now. Number one is that they should stay at home i.e. take care of social distancing. The second thing is to avoid tension. Every patient of heart disease needs to stay at home, spend time with family and be tension free. Take care of yourself more than normal people as coronavirus is proving very dangerous for heart patients. Heart patients should be more alert and take medicines on time.
This should be the schedule of heart patients
Keep your routine for sleeping and waking up the same and do not make any changes in it.
Relax and get a full sleep.
Take a healthy and proper diet and do not be careless about medicines.
Be physically active. Make a routine of walk, yoga and exercise at home.
Take care of yourself more than normal people
This is how corona affects the heart
Severe chest pain is usually considered to be a symptom of heart disease. While this problem was not seen as symptomatic in most of the corona patients and is seen only in select and usually older patients. Lung infection is also the cause of pain near the chest. When corona causes a fatal infection in the lungs, it affects the heart, due to this, it looks like a heart attack is seen on the ECG. The troponin test, which is done to check for heart attack due to inflammation in the membranes above the heart, was also positive in corona patients. Some patients have difficulty breathing due to inflammation of muscles and membranes and some have heaviness in the chest while pumping of the heart is reduced in some patients.
Our Advice: Visit your doctor regularly for a checkup. Talk to a doctor immediately if you have more or less heartbeat. Take nutritious diet continuously, keep on drinking lukewarm water too. Avoid catering with strong spices. Get used to exercising. Get the body oxygen checked continuously.
The most important part of our body is the heart and if it is healthy, you will always have a smile on your face. The number of heart disease sufferers has increased rapidly worldwide due to disorganized lifestyles and unbalanced eating. In this hectic life, people do not get a chance to pay attention to their health, which they have to pay a heavy price. According to cardiologists, heart disease can happen to anyone at any age, there is no prescribed age for it. Due to various reasons like stress, fatigue, pollution, etc., this very important organ that exchanges blood is difficult to do its work, that’s why ‘World Heart Day’ awakens the people to feel conscious about heart diseases as World Heart Day is celebrated every year on 29 September
History of Celebrating World Heart Day
Heart diseases and heart attacks are a major cause of 29 per cent of deaths worldwide. More than 1.71 crore people die every year from heart diseases and heart attacks. Celebrating ‘World Heart Day’ was started in the year 2000 to make the common people aware of these diseases and taking special care of heart health. Until now, ‘World Heart Day’ was celebrated on the last Sunday of September, but from 2014 it will be celebrated on 29 September itself.
Volunteer organization ‘World Heart Federation’ celebrates’ World Heart Day ‘every year in partnership with the World Health Organization’ (WHO). Because of the increasing number of heart diseases and victims, the United Nations has decided to celebrate 29 September as ‘World Heart Day’.This day is celebrated annually to spread awareness about heart disease and to promote their prevention and control measures.
The objective behind celebrating World Heart Day
Heart disease has emerged as a serious disease all over the world today. Every year, through ‘World Heart Day’, awareness is spread among people all over the world. In our country, even young people are falling prey to this disease. One of the biggest causes of this disease is ‘stress’. Doctors point out that stress is the biggest enemy of the heart. Stress is the biggest enemy of the heart. In today’s life, stress has increased a lot. So it is difficult to avoid this disease completely, but as far as possible, distance should be maintained from it. In times of stress, we must listen to the voice of our heart, to keep the heart away from stress.
The chemicals that are released from the brain due to stress, spoil the entire system of the heart. Yoga can also be resorted to overcome stress. The heart is an organ in our body that continuously pumps and conducts blood flow throughout the body. The heart is in the middle of the circulatory system and blood vessels like arteries and veins carry impure blood from every part of the body to the heart and carry pure blood from the heart to every part of the body.
Keep Your Heart Healthy
Today more than half of our life is spent in our workplace and office. In such a situation, we should take care of how the health of the heart should be maintained according to its functioning. To keep heart health one should adopt the following:
Everyone should take some time to exercise and for at least half an hour daily is good for the heart.
If there is a shortage of time, you can also take a quick walk.
Food and diet should be taken according to health.
Use small amounts of salt.
A low-fat diet should be taken in food.
Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits.
Have your breakfast and lunch daily on time.
Keep a distance from substances like tobacco.
Sitting in the same position for hours can be harmful to the heart.
Cycling, walking and swimming regularly must be done.
One should do yoga and meditation for 30 minutes daily.
Do not smoke at all, it is very dangerous for the heart.
Choose an edible oil that has zero trans fatty acids.
Get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep daily as sleep is necessary to keep your heart healthy.
In India, heart disease has increased very fast in the last 27 years which is revealed by new studies. Detailed estimates from 1990 to 2016 of heart and blood vessel diseases in every state of India show that these diseases have increased, but their prevalence varies considerably in different states. Of the total deaths in India, deaths due to cardiovascular diseases and paralysis were 15.2 percent in 1990, which has increased to 28.1 percent in 2016. Of the total deaths, 17.8 percent were due to heart disease and 7.1 percent to paralysis. The ratio of death and disability due to heart disease is significantly higher in men than women, but the paralysis was found equally in men and women.
At the same time, the number of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases in the country increased from 13 lakh in 1990 to 28 lakh in 2016. The number of patients with these diseases has increased from 2.57 crore in 1990 to 5.45 crore in 2016. Their prevalence was highest in Kerala, Punjab and Tamil Nadu. After this, more cases have also been found in Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, and West Bengal. In 2016, more than half of the total deaths due to cardiovascular diseases in India were under 70 years of age. According to a research scientist, studies show that every state should have proper management in this context.
Heart-Related Diseases in India- A small Glance
Nearly 20 crores under 30 years of age are hypertensive patients
19% of the total deaths each year are related to heart disease.
Getting treatment within four to five hours of a heart attack is very important
After an attack, up to 60% of the heart’s capacity is affected.
Due to the unorganized lifestyle, stress, pollution etc. every fourth youth of the country stands on the threshold of a heart attack. Of these, more than half of the youth do not even know about their disease. This is the reason why only 10 percent of young patients are reaching the hospital for treatment.
According to the report, one in every four youth in the country has high blood pressure. If it is not treated for a long time, it affects the heart. Due to the pressure of about three times the capacity, the pumping of the heart is affected and the patient becomes vulnerable to a heart attack. On the basis of this report, the central government has also started a national program for free screening for hypertension patients in 100 districts of the country.
Symptoms of a Heart Attack
According to the doctors, the biggest symptom of heart attack is considered – severe chest pain. Often in a film scene, whenever someone has a heart attack, he grips his chest loudly, due to pain, his eyes start to look nervous and he falls to the ground. We all feel that after a heart attack, we will feel like our chest is being crushed. There is such a feeling, but not always.
When there is no supply of blood to the heart, a heart attack occurs. Usually, due to any obstruction in the path of our arteries, the blood does not reach the heart, which is why there is severe pain in the chest. But sometimes there is no pain in a heart attack. This is called a silent heart attack.
Dos and Don’ts for a heart patient
Use ginger, cloves, garlic, dry ginger, black pepper, peepal, cloves, bay leaves, rock salt with food.
Stay stress-free and happy and do yoga, meditation and pranayama, even walk on foot every day.
Eat less and do not take more than 80 grams / 80 mL of caloric food at a time.
If you walk on the treadmill, try to have a heart rate of 80.
Avoid foods that increase phlegm in the body like rice, curd, curry, cabbage, peas, radishes, urad dal etc.
Avoid using meat, alcohol, smoking, excessive tea, coffee, fast food, junk food, canned food, khoya, sour cream, butter and egg yolk, coconut oil, ice cream, etc.
Half-eaten food causes stomach rot, which increases the number of toxins in the body.
If you have been diagnosed with some rare, complex, or a serious medical condition or your doctor has suggested undergoing surgery, it is the best time for you to seek a second opinion. How does it is going to make a difference? Here are some answers that will help you understand the importance of the second opinion in diagnosis.
Get yourself a second opinion if you still have symptoms after the treatment Nobody knows your body better than you do. There are times when symptoms persist even after undergoing treatment, that is the time when you should seek advice from different healthcare specialists and doctors. Normally people do not stand up for themselves. Instead, they assume that they would never be able to get rid of those chronic diseases and uncomfortable feelings. Always remember, the right diagnosis is the only way to get the treatment that works fine for you. Therefore, do not settle if your symptoms are not going away. Connect with other doctors as well to get their opinion
Get yourself a second opinion if diagnosed with a rare, complexed disease Sometimes you are diagnosed with a rare disease that has very little research. When such thing happens, it becomes frustrating and frightening to find that you have been diagnosed with a rare disease. Hence, it is very important for you to get a second opinion from the doctors who have treated such rare disorders. It will help you to ensure that you get the best possible treatment for your medical condition.
Get yourself a second opinion if the recommended treatment involves surgery If your doctor recommends a treatment that is risky, involves surgery, or has lifelong consequences, it would not be a good idea to give go-ahead without exploring any options. Still, some people need to follow a procedure suggested by a doctor. They miss on to the most important fact that it is your body and life, and you have every right to agree with it or not. As a result, it is an ideal situation to get a second opinion, if your treatment involves some serious procedures, such as surgery. By being proactive and gathering more information will give you more control over the treatment.
Get yourself a second opinion if diagnosed with cancer Cancer can be a life-changing event, as cancer diagnosis is complexed and overwhelming. That is why it is very important for you to have all of the possible information about your prognosis and treatments available to you. Getting additional opinions to improve your chances of having the best possible treatment.
Get yourself a second opinion if you are not comfortable with diagnosis or treatment If you are not satisfied with your diagnosis or the recommended treatment, get yourself a second opinion. It would be incorrect on your part to agreeing to a treatment you are not comfortable with. Talk to your family and friends, get in touch with the doctors who have similar knowledge and experience to your current doctor. There are only a few conditions that require immediate decisions.
You should always remember, you are neither difficult nor in a denial about your current situation when you seek a second opinion. You are being just empowered and smart with this decision. Most doctors do support and encourage a second opinion. Lastly, if your second doctor gives you a go-ahead with the first one, you can move further with more confidence.
With growing technology, people have started looking for new ways to communicate with the doctors. People who are living in a rural area, online consultations with doctors have proven as an advantage. The online consultations allow the patients to directly chat or communicate with a doctor over the video call. Online consultations with doctors have made it simpler for people to access high-quality services at a low cost.
You can get personal advice from the doctor through an online consultation. Without worrying about the distance and location, you can get advice from the medical professional and save your time. It is very helpful for a bedridden patient who requires to visit doctors at regular intervals, online consultations can help you to connect with the doctor without leaving the comfort of your home. It is also very convenient for people who are living in places where no doctors are available.
Privacy is the major benefit of online consultation since it plays an important role in it. You can get medical advice from the doctors you have never met before. Apart from medical advice from the doctors, it is easy to maintain a record of the reports.
Below are some of the advantages that prove the growing significance of online consultations:
No waiting time Time has always been the concern that most of the patients complain about. There is no need for you to get in the queues at the reception and outside the doctor’s chamber. You can always book and pay for the appointment via an online portal created for online consultations. It makes things easy not just for the patient, but for the doctor as well.
No awkward feeling Most of the time it is very difficult for us to inform the doctor about our personal health issues, such as mental health problems or sexually transmitted diseases because there are other people as well in the doctor’s chamber. Online consultation gives the option of having a private conversation with the doctor while sitting in a separate room, at a suitable time.
No chances of infection You understand this, a doctor’s clinic or a hospital can act as a storehouse for any kind of infection. Since you are surrounded by the people who are sick, sneezing, or coughing as much as you are. You cannot always ask them to cover their mouth or use a tissue while sneezing or coughing. By staying at home and having an online consultation with the doctor, you completely eliminate the risk of infections.
Cost Online consultation saves your money. It is very cost-effective for patients who regularly visit the doctor. It saves your transport cost, visiting cost and time. You can get qualitative medical advice, diagnostics, and treatment with cost-effectiveness irrespective of the location.
Easy to get the second opinion There are times when it is very important to take a second opinion for your treatment from a different doctor. This facility is easily accessible through online consultation. It makes the second opinion very simple to verify your health status since you can get that at your home.
While having an online consultation, always make sure that you clearly share your medical issues with the doctor. It allows the doctor to recommend the right treatment and medicines to you.
Online consultations are quickly growing across the world due to benefits like cost, access, and time-saving. Need to consult a doctor for a second opinion, send a WhatsApp message at 7830206735.
Good 30 years back, I was a teenager, high on adrenaline when I first heard about operation desert shield/storm in 1990-91. I distinctly remember when I picked up a newspaper at my home on the morning of 3rd august 1990, the headline said: “Iraq attacks Kuwait”. The article went on about the unrest in the “gulf” due to oil, Iraqi govt financially impoverished by a long war at home and with Iran, demanded 10 billion US dollars from Kuwait due to its perceived losses in Rumailla fields. When compensation did not come through, Iraq invaded Kuwait on 2 August, it was an easy win for Iraq, as in part one was expecting this movie, and also because the military might of Iraq was far superior.
To us in India, it did not mean much, as it never affected our lives directly, or even indirectly. Gulf was literally always on the war from the time oil was found there. Decades of Iran-Iraq war and many small scale wars between Saudi, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon were at best a nightmare in history books for Indian students. A tough list of events and dates to memorize!
However it all changed one night for me, there used to be a program on the national tv channel DD titled “The world this week”. We did not have any private news channels then. This program telecasted only on Friday nights as a weekly round-up of news and events across the world. I vividly remember seeing missile being fired and bombs being dropped, as real video clippings thanks to CNN footage obtained by The world this week. This was new, for the first time actual live videos of a real war were being sent across the world and sold for profit! Such visuals started coming almost daily as a part of the news on DD, updates of gulf war became a norm, even many times a day, different news related to war was being telecasted courtesy CNN.
This soon became an international obsession, the whole world was getting almost an hourly update of the war. The war had become a show! This brought television as a powerful tool and through it delivered what appealed to the human psyche the most, human misery and death.
This was repeated in India by the owners of NDTV channel (erstwhile producers of the world this week) during their live coverage of Kargil war in 1999 between India and Pakistan, Barkha Dutt as a reporter on the ground became a national celebrity almost instantaneously after this transmission. To us Indians what was started during the Gulf war, got an encore in Kargil war.
Fast forward almost two decades, and another human tragedy the Swine flu hit us hard. This was the first pandemic where from a very early stage we had a fair level of media attention and the 15-18 months period of rising and subsequent fall of number and severity of cases was documented. Pandemic started from North America, possibly from Mexico, and spread across the world. Initial mortality of H1N1 was in the range of 8-10%, and with initial mutations, rapidly came down to 3-5% range for the early half of this pandemic period. Later half of this pandemic was like any other flu season, with mortality going below 0.5%. There were even allegations that WHO along with many big pharma companies “created” a “false pandemic”. However, this was a known enemy, we had faced it many times, there were ready medicines, and vaccine also came about, the previous flu vaccines could give partial immunity and many individuals had innate immunity. Overall swine flu officially infected 491,382(lab confirmed) cases, though the estimated number was anywhere between 700million to 1.4 billion, which is almost one-fifth of humans. Death officially was pegged as 18,449(lab confirmed) though estimated deaths were anywhere between 1.5-6millions. Though public frenzy was there, it was not over the top, and public health care systems handled the scenario well(at least in the hindsight).
Fast forward another 10 years, and hell has broken loose! This time the enemy was unknown, and the origin place being China, everybody suspected the source of virus(including yours truly). There are countless conspiracy theories, about the origin, propagation, severity, and even pathophysiology of this infection. The rapidity with which this disease spread caught everybody by surprise. The media attention to this pandemic has been truly unparalleled. In the history of humankind, no other “event” has received this much attention. The world literally stopped due to “lockdown”. WHOs role in this pandemic has been far from satisfactory. Initial false reassurance that there is no human to human transmission and later overly scary nonscientific updates confused the medical and administrative faculty worldwide, and continue to do so.
The role of media has been far from satisfactory, the initial sensationalization of the whole epidemic,keeping a public count and updates being given almost hourly has caught the maximum public frenzy ever! From the point of view of the media, this is the biggest show ever! What was practiced during swine flu, got an encore here, and the art of selling fears, perfected? Even I bought it, initially and fear pulverized me.
We doctors, particularly we, the heart surgeons have always been at war with germs. There is no other branch where the obsession with cleanliness and sterility is more than in cardiac surgery. After all if even one of our patients gets infected, it’s either an infection of the heart or in chest bone, both can potentially be lethal in their own right. So we are constantly at war with bugs. Washing hands repeatedly, not touching objects unnecessarily, wearing masks for prolonged duration are all typical tenants of training in cardiac surgery. I realized soon in this Pandemic that we cardiac surgeons are perfectly suited to fight this disease. Alas, my confidence did not last long, as very soon the news from the UK came, where a junior cardiac surgeon, posted on COVID duty died due to the same disease. One more senior cardiac surgeon died in south India, taking away all my early confidence about remaining on top of this disease.
With time, however, it has dawned on me that it’s like many other pandemics in that sense. Early mortality was in the range of 8-10%, it’s steadily coming down. Trick is to delay the inevitable, and keep telling the virus “not today” and hopefully later when it has attenuated more, the virus will spare us the complications and learn to live with us. That’s why we have to learn to live with COVID (#livewithcovid). I feel if we stay very cautious and follow all the principles of avoiding infection, and with a dash of luck, we will not get it. It’s more of hope than a plan, but then humans have fought wars with much fewer chances and won many times in the past. On this note, I would also appeal to all readers that we humans were threatened by a small virus and were reminded by mother nature once more, that we are tenants only on this planet, let’s not try to be the owners of mother earth. At least let’s try to live on earth as responsible tenants and respect nature more.
As for media personnel, I understand you all also are human beings and it’s natural for you also to be scared of this disease. Let’s tone down the rhetoric for now, and put a slow end to this “show”. There were many a medical crisis in the past and there will be many in the future, let’s not make it commercial. As you well know, operation desert storm did bring some results and stability in the gulf, but the 2003 Iraq war turned out to be based on a false premise of weapons of mass destruction, when there were none.