Monday, 10 January 2011

Heart ailments on rise i

Heart ailments on rise i
Srinagar, Jan 9: The political unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in the past two decades, is taking a heavy toll on the health of people, with heart ailments increasing at a fast pace, experts said Sunday.
They said the heart ailments have also hit many officers and constables of the Jammu and Kashmir Police who have been at the forefront of maintaining law and order in the Valley.
“The political uncertainty and the law and order situation in the Valley have led to marked increase in the heart ailments including attacks among the people. About 10 percent of Kashmir’s population, below and above 30 years, is suffering with various heart ailments. How many times you must have seen your friends or relatives dying due to heart attack at the age of 25-30 in the Valley as compared to 60 in the West? This is an alarming trend,” said prominent cardiologist Prof (Dr) Upendra Kaul during the launching of life saving procedure Angioplasty in Khyber Medical Institute here.
The initiative has been taken in collaboration with New Delhi based prestigious Fortis Escorts Heart Institute of which Dr Kaul is the Executive Director and Dean Cardiology.
Elaborating, Dr Kaul said high level of stress has emerged as one of the high risk factors for heart ailments in Kashmir. “People of the Valley have been reeling under immense stress. The law and order situation has been compelling them to reach home before evening; parents are worried about safety of their wards and wait for their safe return from work places. The children are scared. Sometimes people can’t even do exercise not to talk of venturing out for a walk due to strikes, curfews or stone pelting. This has contributed to rise in stress, diabetes and blood pressure levels which subsequently trigger heart ailments and attacks, which in most of the cases are life-consuming,” Kaul said.
Dr Kaul said the cops of J&K police are also not immune to heart diseases. “Many police officers and constables have developed heart ailments in the past few years due to high levels of stress as compared to past 30 years,” he said.
He said over 30 to 40 thousand people in the Valley need Angioplasty annually. “The hospitals here including the SKIMS and those associated with GMC don’t have the manpower and infrastructure to cater to such a large number of Angioplasty procedures. The facilities there are grossly inadequate. Besides in Government set-up, the endeavors often get entangled due to bureaucracy and politics. On one hand we need to help these institutions and on the other train the medicos here to conduct the life-saving procedures for catering to the heart patients,” he said.
Dr Kaul maintained that time factor is important in saving the patients with heart ailments. “You may have money but if you don’t get the treatment in time, there is no fun in having it. People with heart attacks need immediate treatment in two hours before the artery which is to be opened by Angioplasty dies. There is dire need to establish cathlabs and heart centers in every district. Time is ripe for a common exchange between the government and private hospitals to save the lives of patients. Health competition is good but not at the cost of patients,” he said.
For effective and timely treatment of patients, Dr Kaul said Angioplasty has been launched at the Khyber Medical Institute. “Today is a heartening day for me that I have finally succeeded to start the Angioplasty program for the first time in the State in a private hospital. We have done seven procedures out of which five were of Angioplasty. The patients at Khyber Medical Institute are recovering fast. But I had to do lot of groundwork for the procedure. My dedicated team of cardiologists did initial assessment of the infrastructure and identified the patients for the procedure,” he said.
However, Dr Kaul maintained that he does not intend to take the patients outside the Valley for treatment. “Some senior cardiologists in Kahsmir have been running a rumour mill that I have come to Kashmir for luring patients to hospitals in other states. But I want to clarify that as son of this soil, my objective is to provide treatment at affordable rates to the people of my homeland at their doorsteps,” he said.
He said the endeavor was not possible without the support of Khurshid Tramboo and Dr M Hussain Wani of Khyber Medical Institute.
He minced no words in praising the doctors and paramedical staff of the Valley. “They are dedicated, inferior to none and many of them have made it to the prestigious medical institutes of India. Many of them have been trained in conducting life saving procedures and we will be happy to utilize their services. I will be helping the SKIMS, GMC and other private hospitals to conduct life saving heart procedures,” he said.
On the occasion, M Hussain Wani Administrator of Khyber Medical Institute said it is the endeavor of the hospital’s promoters to provide better healthcare to the people of the Valley. “Angioplasty is a costly affair even if it is done in SKIMS as the patients have to purchase the consumables from market and the whole procedure costs over Rs 1.50 lakhs. In our hospital the patients have the option to do Angioplasty at nearly Rs one lakh inclusive of consumables, operation and room charges,” he said.
Dr Wani made a comprehensive presentation about the Khyber Medical Institute. “A dream started to take shape in 2002 when our promoters late Dr Ghulam Rasool Tramboo and Muhammad Maqbool Tramboo envisaged to venture into the healthcare and started this institute to carry forward the mission of delivering quality healthcare to the people. With the passage of time, the institute has become a super specialty hospital with unique facilities in cardiology and Gastroenterology. We are committed to contribute and work towards effective delivery of health care to the patients’ satisfaction,” Dr Wani added.

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