Heart Care Foundation of India condoles the death of Former External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj

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Stresses on the need to raise awareness on how kidney disorders are a major risk factor for heart attacks in future

New Delhi, 7 August 2019: The Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) condoles the death of former external affairs minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj. An exemplary leader, the youngest cabinet minister, and the most prominent face of her party, she was a political personality with a human touch.

She was admitted to AIIMS and suffered a heart attack. She had also undergone treatment for kidney failure in 2016. Smt. Sushma Swaraj was just 67 and her untimely death calls for awareness on the co-relation between kidney disorders and heart attacks. Chronic kidney disease patients with kidney function less than 60% have an extremely high risk for future heart attacks.

Offering his condolences, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Smt. Sushma Swaraj was perhaps one of the most humane and dynamic women leaders of her time. Chronic kidney disease should be regarded as a coronary heart disease risk equivalent, akin to diabetes, as patients with the condition have high rates of cardiovascular events. Alternatively, people with underlying conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, or an abnormal kidney structure, and a family history of the disease are also at an increased risk of kidney failure over time.”

Heart diseases are as common among women as men. Among the symptoms in women include atypical angina, in which they could experience discomfort in the shoulders, back, and neck. Apart from this, shortness of breath is often the first and only presenting symptom. The risk further increases with an underlying condition such as kidney failure.

The 8 Golden Rules to avoid or delay reaching the point of kidney failure are as follows.

  • Keep fit and active, it helps reduce your blood pressure and on the move for kidney health.
  • Keep regular control of your blood sugar level as about half of people who have diabetes develop kidney damage.
  • Monitor your blood pressure: It is also the most common cause of kidney damage. The normal blood pressure level is 120/80. Between this level and 129/89, you are considered prehypertensive and should adopt lifestyle and dietary changes. At 140/90 and above, you should discuss the risks with your doctor and monitor your blood pressure level regularly. High blood pressure is especially likely to cause kidney damage when associated with other factors like diabetes, high cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Eat healthy and keep your weight in check as this can help prevent diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD).  Reduce your salt intake. The recommended sodium intake is 5-6 grams of salt per day (around a teaspoon). In order to reduce your salt intake, try and limit the amount of processed and restaurant food and do not add salt to food. It will be easier to control your intake if you prepare the food yourself with fresh ingredients.
  • Maintain a healthy fluid intake: Traditional wisdom has long suggested drinking 1.5 to 2 liters (3 to 4 pints) of water per day. Consuming plenty of fluid helps the kidneys clear sodium, urea and toxins from the body which, in turn, results in a “significantly lower risk” of developing chronic kidney disease. However, do not advocate “aggressive fluid loading”, which can cause side effects.
  • Do not smoke as it slows the flow of blood to the kidneys. Smoking also increases the risk of kidney cancer by about 50%.
  • Do not take over-the-counter pills on a regular basis: drugs like ibuprofen are known to cause kidney damage and disease if taken regularly.
  • Get kidney function checked if you have one or more of the ‘high risk’ factors.