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Heart patients can perform Haj, says MoH.

Cardiac patients must take sufficient amounts of liquids and juices and avoid staying under the direct sun because of the high temperature during Haj season. (SPA)

RIYADH: The Ministry of Health advised local Haj pilgrims that cardiac patients can perform Haj provided their health condition is stable. An MoH official said cardiac patients can perform Haj provided they have no chest pain or dyspnea, no recent heart attacks that necessitated hospitalization, cardiac catheterization, or artery bypass surgery. The announcement was made at the Haj phone-in service relayed by the ministry through its toll-free number, 800 249 4444, to help pilgrims, who need online advice on Haj matters through the ministry's website, and on the social networking site Twitter @saudimoh. "Cardiac patients should have good control of diabetes and hypertension, and ensure they are healthy in general, as well as consulting their doctors prior to the performing of Haj." The official also advised of the necessity of taking vaccinations such as meningitis and seasonal flu vaccine. Heart patients, especially those with a weak heart muscle (cardiomyopathy), are susceptible to serious complications in case of getting infected with influenza, which would lead to heart failure. It was also advised to keep a sufficient stock of drugs that could be used for their entire pilgrimage. "They also should make sure to take prescribed medicines regularly, and not to stop taking them for any reason. Also, coronary artery atheroma patients have to carry along nitroglycerin tablets; these are the medication put under the tongue and to be taken when chest pains occur." "Those who suffer from cardiac problems should avoid mental and physical strain, and psychological disturbances. They should pay attention to the type of food and reduce salt in food, and keep away from overcrowded areas. In case of any chest pain, they should seek immediate medical help, or call the Red Crescent on 977, or the unified center on 911, for necessary action. The official pointed out that sunstroke is riskier for cardiac patients, especially when using diuretics, which increase possibility of dehydration, in addition to the various blood thinners, such as aspirin and others which increase the risk of fainting and sudden falls, and the possibility of bleeding. "Cardiac patients must take sufficient amounts of liquids and juices and avoid staying under the direct sun because of the high temperature during Haj season. They are advised to avoid physical strain as much as possible, and in case of having any symptoms, such as headache or vomiting, or feeling very tired, have muscle pain or high degree of body temperature, they should get enough rest and take sufficient amounts of liquids and juices, as well as using antipyretics." The phone-in-service is offered by a team of conversant call attendants who give instant replies to callers who seek medical advice for their pilgrimage to the holy cities. The medical team comprises consultants, cardiologists, medical specialists, pharmacists and dentists. The program is handled by a group of Saudi women who are working in the ministry and its city hospitals here. All callers are assured strict confidentiality of the information provided during their telephonic inquiries and men suffering from chronic ailments such as diabetes and hypertension are free to ask questions about their dose of medicines and how they should store their insulin during the pilgrimage, while women could inquire about vaccine and matters concerning their menstrual cycle and how to prevent it during the pilgrimage.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Sep 5, 2016
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