People with influenza stand the risk of a heart attack

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India Comments Off

Vaccination can go a long way in preventing the onset of flu

New Delhi, 25 January 2018: Statistics indicate that people who get flu may be at a six-fold higher risk of heart attack in the week following infection. The risk of heart attack — or myocardial infarction — is particularly acute in older adults. These findings assume importance as an association between influenza and acute myocardial infarction reinforces the need for vaccination. While other respiratory viruses were also seen to raise the risk of heart attack, the incidence was not as high as the flu virus.

Influenza or ‘the flu’ is a highly contagious disease caused by infection from influenza type A or B (or rarely C) virus. These viruses infect the upper airways and lungs. Flu is not similar to a common cold and can be a serious illness. It is particularly of harm to the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “During flu illness, our body is under a lot of stress and inflammation is up. Further, the oxygen levels and blood pressure can drop which can lead to an increased risk of blood clots in the vessels that serve the heart. All of these can cause heart attack. Vaccination is the best way to reduce the risk of getting flu. Being vaccinated gives you protection against flu by building immunity to the virus and preventing transmission of the virus to other people.”

The initial symptoms of flu include headaches, chills, and a cough. Other signs such as fever, loss of appetite, and muscle aches follow late. Apart from this, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are rare in adults but more common in children.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also Group Editor of IJCP, said, “There are other complications of a flu such as bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, or diabetes. It is, therefore, important to not ignore symptoms of a flu. Chest pains and shortness of breath might indicate a lot more.”

The following tips can help prevent influenza.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
  • Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Straight from the heart: IMA Road Map

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The main objective of IMA is to provide affordable available accessible and accountable quality and safe health care to the public through its members in a stress free environment. IMA works hand in hand with the central and state governments to achieve its objectives via profession and community friendly policies. One of the objectives of IMA is to concentrate on primary preventive and primordial care. In this regard IMA has launched many campaigns like Sun to Lo Dekh to lo Koi Dekh to Nahi Raha Koi Sun to Nahi Raha Baar Baar Pucho Puchna Mat Bhulo Woh to Theek Hai par Mara Kyon Woh to Theek Hai par Heart Attack Hua Kyon Katwayega to Nahi among others. IMA is also incorporating social determinants of health in providing medical care. IMA Project Jiska Koi Nahi Uska IMA provides avenues to patients from every segment of the society in getting cost effective treatment within their reach and within the same environment where he she is residing. IMA has helped achieve millennium development goals and now is committed to achieve sustainable development goals. IMA Road Map IMA believes in patient centric medicine where the treatment plan is adjusted to the needs of the patient on case to case basis. IMA is fighting with government for one price one drug one company policy so that cost of 80 of medicine can be reduced. Today 80 cost of health care is on medicines and investigations. IMA policy is to prescribe NLEM drugs and when writing non NLEM drugs to take consent from the patient. IMA members are implementing all national health programs. But for the same government should hire every general practitioner on retainership basis. IMA wants 100 PG seats so that every doctor who does MBBS is ensured a PG Seat and those seats where Indian doctors opt out can be allotted to foreigners. Most of the new PG seats should be in Family Medicine. IMA is for providing all emergent services to people which is the mandate of state government who is not able to provide it. Hence this should be reimbursed by state governments. IMA is not against accountability but is against the people taking law in their hands. IMA wants single window accountability for the same. IMA also want Single Window Registration for any health care facility. IMA also wants Single Registration for doctors so that they can practice in any state in the country. Medical profession is not a business and all doctors provide reasonable subsidy to their patients for which they are entitled to non commercial rates for water electric property and and other amenities. IMA respects Ayush doctors and the government should let them excel in their own field and not diversify into the modern system of medicine. IMA believes in the concept of equity equality and justice. To this end IMA wants uniform age of retirement uniform pay scale uniform infrastructure uniform hours of duty etc. IMA is for bringing preventable deaths to zero. Preventable deaths should be unacceptable. To achieve this IMA recommends auditing every preventable death to find what went wrong so that another such death can be prevented by timely action. IMA wants professional autonomy and for the doctors to be able to decide their drug investigation and line of management based on patient centric medicine. IMA is for competence based training and not theoretical based training. IMA is against repeated multiple theoretical exams for doctors to test their updated knowledge status. IMA wants all doctors to use petrol cars car pool grow grass in muddy areas plant trees and promote walking as their contributions in efforts to reduce air pollution. All IMA CMEs should be noise free with noise levels between 45 50 dB. The average life span of doctors is 10 13 years shorter than non doctors. IMA recommends all doctors to have their annual check up done and get 100 vaccinated. The cost of intensive care is beyond reach of a common man. It s the state government mandate to provide free emergency care. If they cannot ICU establishment costs should be subsidized by the government. All IMA CMEs should have a slide each on pharmacovigilance bioethics and AMR. IMA policy is to spend time on informing patient about the cost of treatment. The cost variation should not be more than 10 . IMA policy is to promote GTN in TB GeneXpert test trace every contact and notify TB . Even the dead have a right to dignity. All dead bodies whether in the dissection hall or in the hospital settings must be respected To build credibility all doctors should explain the reason if they are referring a patient to a specific lab imaging center pharmacy or a hospital.

“Woh to theek hai, par mara kyon”? Preventable deaths should be unacceptable

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Most deaths are preventable as most deaths are caused by preventable factors. People with diseases such as heart attack, cancer, stroke, pneumonia, chronic respiratory diseases, vector-borne diseases, diarrhea, tuberculosis should live and not die unless there is a complicating factor.

India ranks first among countries with the highest number of child deaths in the world. In 2015, out of the total 5.9 million child deaths globally, 1.2 million i.e. 20% of the world’s share, occurred in India. A significant majority of these deaths are due to preventable causes such as diarrhea, pneumonia, malnutrition etc.

Whenever a person dies of preventable illnesses, questions should arise as a routine “Why did he die”? Was the death preventable?

All deaths should be self-audited to look for preventable causes. If no cause is found, then virtual autopsy can be done. Virtopsy or virtual autopsy is an alternative to traditional autopsy, conducted with scanning and imaging technology. IMA is for establishing virtual autopsies at clinical level for non-medicolegal cases (whole body CT, whole body MRI, postmortem angio, molecular autopsy).

In every death, IMA members should give an option for virtual biopsy with or without mini FNAC/ tissue biopsy. And informed refusal must be noted.

“Woh to theek hai, par mara kyon” is one of the major IMA campaigns this year to audit every preventable death with the objective of preventing these avoidable illnesses and mortalities through strategic planning, awareness campaigns and mutual collaboration with concerned authorities. If we are able to find a cause of death, then we must act on preventing a second such death in the family; look for preventable complications in the future.

Nobody should die a preventable death in this time and age.

Dr KK Aggarwal
National President IMA

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