The age of people affected by cardiovascular diseases is decreasing. How to protect ourselves? Where to seek help? What contemporary medical solutions can we trust? Assoc. Prof Krasimira Hristova, PhD, knows the answer. She is a specialist in cardiology and is an echocardiography expert at the National Cardiological Hospital. She is also engaged in the organisation of international campaigns for prevention of cardiological diseases.
What is the purpose of campaigns like the World Hypertension Day? What initiatives do you plan in Bulgaria?
For a third year the World Hypertension Day is a part of the МММ (May Measurements Month) initiative where centres from all over the world measure for free arterial hypertonia and consult on how to normalise its indicators. The World Hypertension Day (17 May) and the World Preeclampsia Day (22 May) aim to attract the society's attention to prophylaxis of arterial hypertension which can cause serious problems like strokes, heart attacks, premature birth and complication for the mother and the foetus.
This year the World Hypertension League (WHL) gave the opportunity to start a helpful educational initiative to attract children and teenagers with a competition for best drawing or poster on the topic "Let's keep the heart healthy." The competition started in April and will continue until the end of the year. Each month the best participants will be published in the WHL's monthly newsletter and on its website.
At what age should we start prophylaxis and how can Medical Center for Specialised Medical Help for Cardiovascular Diseases help us?
Prophylaxis of cardiovascular diseases is the main principle of behaviour and treatment in modern medicine. Unfortunately in Bulgaria patients seek prevention only after the event has occurred. In the past decades is being witnessed a trend for decrease of the age threshold for development of cardiovascular diseases, with cases of myocardial infarcts happening even under 30 years of age. That is why we don't speak anymore of a particular age to start prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Our advice is for primal prevention in children and adults connected to healthy lifestyle, increased physical activity, maintaining a normal body weght, healthy eating, regular control of the arterial hypertonia and the lipids in the blood.
When a disease occurs, secondary prevention starts. It is connected to therapy and dietary regime, physical activity. The specialists in the Centre can prepare a dietary regime and a scheme for physical activity in accordance with the patient's physical condition.
In the beginning of May we are starting cardiovascular diseases prevention packages. They include evaluation of the functional capacity and the dietary regime for prevention of dyslipidemia, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, gout and others. Our patients can have their full health status prepared and can get valuable advice for healthy eating and lifestyle. Our patients will find more information on www.cardio-center.eu.
What modern methods for diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases do you use in the Centre?
The Centre has complete top-class equipment for diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases. We also perform 3D echocardiography, including transesophageal for precise reconstruction of the valve apparatuses and the chamber function. In our practice we routinely use the new methodology for evaluation of myocardial deformation, a method that is recognised in proving the existence of ischemic or metabolitic changes even when the patient still has no symptoms. By combining this methodology with a stress test, including medicament or pulmonary one, we can evaluate as well different parameters such as ischemia, oxygen consumption, functional capacity, condition of the coronary vessels and the risk of sudden cardiac death. We are the only ones for evaluation of heart and lung capacity outside sports medicine, an examination that is very useful for patients with unspecified constriction of cardiac or lung origin.
Treatment of patients with arterial hypertension is always accompanied by outpatient monitoring of the arterial pressure. This is a much more reliable measurement that the one traditionally performed in hospital environment. We offer a number of options for follow-up of heart rhythm for between 24 hours and 7 days, as well as for month, in accordance with the pathology's frequency. We also work on a special programme for prevention of preeclampsia in women in risk of developing hypertension during pregnancy.
The examination with an angiologist gives an opportunity for evaluation of risk of development of atherosclerosis and calculation of the vessels' potential ageing. In addition, the outpatient diagnosis of sleep apnea (the patient is not required to stay in hospital) in a condition than in itself is a risk factor for cardiovascular incidents. The same methods are applicable with our children cardiologists and rheumatologist.
We can also always offer diagnosis outside the cardiovascular field and specialists like vascular surgeons, endocrinologists, neurologists, a pulmonologist, a gastroenterologist, an urologist, a nephrologist, and psychological and psychiatrical consultations.
What age are the youngest patients that you have helped?
Diseases have no age, but it is particularly hard to meet very young children with serious cardiac problems.
That is why our aim is to keep the heart healthy!
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