Keeping heart attacks at bay
The statistics on heart attacks in Barbados are heartbreaking.
Every 48 hours, at least three Barbadians experiences one, and if that’s not enough, almost half of this country’s recorded deaths are attributed to the silent killer.
Recently, Minister of Health John Boyce was at pains to point out that heart attacks are a drain on the national health budget, accounting for nearly a third of expenditure.
Even more worrying are current trends, which he said show the problem won’t be arrested anytime soon.
According to Boyce, “Medical experts have diagnosed that Barbadians as young as 29 are suffering heart attacks.” He also pointed out that the country was experiencing congestive heart disease in higher proportions among the younger generation.
By now this startling data should get you thinking about how you can better protect that all important muscle which is just about the size of a closed fist, located in the middle of the chest, slightly towards the left of the breastbone.
It is possible. Those of you who have been fortunate to avoid heart disease must focus on eating right, exercising regularly and keeping stress at bay.
Those who have endured the trauma and lived to tell the tale can lower the risk of future heart problems with a proper course of cardiac rehabilitation.
Cardiac rehabilitation, also referred to as cardiac rehab, is a supervised programme to help people recover from heart attacks and heart surgery. It starts at the earliest opportunity after the cardiac arrest or operation.
The Heart & Stroke Foundation provides an individualized and personalized treatment plan that includes evaluation and instruction on physical activity and exercise, nutrition, and stress management. That also goes along with monitoring other factors such as:
*Sugar Level – Is it high, low or normal?
* Heart Rate – Making sure you get up to required rate.
* Heart Rhythm – Is anything out of the norm?
* Weight – Monitoring your BMI.
The Foundation makes it clear that cardiac rehabilitation is not only for those who may have experienced a heart attack or stroke. It points out that the programme has been prescribed by medical doctors as a form of prevention. For example, there are instances where persons who may have visited their personal physician and their bodies are unresponsive to cholesterol medication, or the blood pressure is consistently high, or they are just generally stressed out and are heading towards a likely incident. Cardiac rehabilitation may be used in these cases and sometimes reduces the chances of invasive techniques.
The Foundation says the benefits are numerous. Patients can:
* Live longer and lessen their chances for another incident
* Stop or reverse damage to blood vessels
* Improve stamina and strength, to get back to usual activities including work, hobbies and regular exercise
* Improve confidence and general well-being