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Awareness helps cut complications in heart patients who are fasting.

Catherine W Gichuki DOHA Sustained awareness campaign among the public about heart diseases and fasting has helped in keeping complications among patients at bay as Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has not received any such cases since Ramadan began this month. Meanwhile, patients have been seeking advice from their physicians about fasting complications. Speaking to media persons, HMC consultant electrophysiologist and cardiologist Dr Nora al Jefairi said fasting has no negative impact on patients with stable heart condition and has no recurrent symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath. She noted that those with electrophysiology-fast heart rate (tachycardia) or slow heart rate (bradycardia) can also fast. She said they recommend fasting for those who are able to fast because it's also part of purifying the body from any toxins and strenghtening the immune system. "They can divide their medication mainly after breaking and before starting the fasting," she said. Dr Jefairi, however, said each case is treated differently. "The patients should get advice from the doctors who follow up with them regularly. We treat each person individually. We treat each person according to their own problems," she explained. Talking about what people with heart problems should look out for while fasting, Dr Jefairi said they should pay attention to things such as stable chest pain, adding that those with issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure which is not well managed, should avoid fasting. Thanks to HMC's awareness campaign, she noted, patients with heart problems are able to fast safely. "We prepare the patients before fasting. Thanks to awareness campaign, many patients voluntarily seek doctor's advice. This has really helped in reducing complications," she said, adding that Qatar's healthcare sector has also increased consultation sessions by having clinics in the mornings and evenings for every specialty. "The pharmacy also provides us with all the instructions to the physicians through the patients to prepare them for fasting. Any patient with a significant heart disease is prepared before fasting," she said. However, fasting could adversely those including heart patients who experience recurrent chest pain; patients with heart problems who experience fatigue or lack of energy and shortness of breath, as they need frequent dosages of diuretic medications; and patients who have suffered heart attacks as they shouldn't fast within the six weeks following the heart attack. Also, heart surgery patients shouldn't fast within the six weeks following surgery. Those who shouldn't fast also include patients whose heart's aortic valves are narrowed (stenosis) or inflamed; patients who are on blood thinners or anticoagulants; and patients on malignant arrhythmia medications.

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Publication:Qatar Tribune (Doha, Qatar)
Date:May 17, 2019
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