We have often heard of the proverb ‘prevention is better than cure’, but Dr Pratiksha G Gandhi, the first woman Preventive Cardiologist in India has taken this phrase to heart and founded the highly acclaimed Institute of Preventive Cardiology (IPC). A Gold medalist Allopathic MD from Bombay University, Dr. Pratiksha completed her medical graduation from Seth G.S. Medical College and K.E.M. Hospital.
While she practices international guidelines for treating heart patients, she has developed a unique concept in non-invasive cardiology where, along with allopathic medicines she has combined yoga, meditation and alternative medicine to successfully treat heart patients.
15 years ago she pioneered the movement of Preventive Cardiology by obtaining a post graduate degree in Preventive Medicine which was an emerging field of medicine at that time in India. She is the only doctor in India who has been awarded as a ‘Best Woman Entrepreneur’ by the Ex Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram in 2006 for her original contribution in the field of Preventive Cardiology.
Her pioneering work in the Preventive Cardiology and non-invasive cardiac treatment through EECP was also applauded by Dr. A.P.J. Kalam Ex President of India in 2005.
She has more than 2000 articles published in newspapers and magazines like The Times of India, Mumbai Mirror, DNA, Indian Express, Hindustan Times, The Economic Times, Maharashtra Times, Loksatta, Hitvada, Business Today, Business India, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Era, Chitralekha, Chatura, Lokprabha etc. She has also featured in all popular TV Channels like CNBC, Star TV, and Zee.
She has written six books on preventive cardiology, yoga and healthy heart diet. One of the most popular books are ‘Bypassing the BypassSurgery’, which is co-authored by Dr. Elmer Cranton from Harvard Medical School, USA. Her book ‘Bypassla Paryay’ won the ‘Karmavir Bhaurao Patil’ Award from the Maharashtra State Government.
Dr. Pratiksha has pioneered the concept of prevention of heart diseases through Lifestyle Management Centres across the country which has trained more than 100,000 individuals for Prevention of Heart Diseases. More than 30,000 heart patients who had been advised bypass surgery, angioplasty or are recuperating from surgeries have undergone Cardiac Rehabilitation Programs with 90% success rate thereby avoiding a bypass surgery.
Dr. Pratiksha has also addressed millions of people on prevention of heart disease, blood pressure and diabetes through seminars conducted at various Corporate, Non Profit Organizations, NGOs and through electronic and print media.
“The mission of Institute of Preventive Cardiology (IPC) is preventing a heart attack, reversing heart diseases through continuous education, early detection and non-invasive holistic treatment which in turn help in reducing the incidence of Coronary Artery Diseases, prevention of premature deaths and disability. 90% of the heart surgeries are preventable and our focus is to save everyone from heart attacks and heart surgeries.” says Dr. Pratiksha.
What started the Institute of Preventive Cardiology (IPC)
Every hour, 91 persons are dying with heart disease in India and it is estimated that by 2015 India will have 60% of cardiac deaths of the world. An article in the Times of India dated 27th April 2008; quotes of a study published in the prestigious medical journal Lancet, that India will have 60% of the world’s heart patients in the coming two years. The Lancet study published the findings of four yearlong studies conducted across 89 centers in India and involving 21,000 cardiac patients. This is one of the largest studies on heart diseases in India.
India will soon become the ‘Heart Disease Capital’ of the world and it is already the ‘Diabetes Capital’ of the world with 32 million cases. 10% of Indians suffer from coronary artery disease, in a population of 1, 25, 000, 00, 00; 12.5 crores of Indians are suffering and 20 crores are at high risk.
With such alarming statistics reeling over our heads, Dr. Pratiksha feels, “The task is enormous and huge; we cannot let young Indians die due to premature heart attacks. Today, maximum heart diseases are occurring between the age group of 35 to 64 years, which is an economically productive age group. Even if people have health insurance, all invasive modalities at the cost of 3 lakh rupees is going to be gross waste of resources and manpower.”
Why Preventive Cardiology
IPC HeartCare’s Preventive Cardiology Program embraces “prevention” for people who have not yet suffered from a heart disease, so that they never have to suffer from it. It also caters to those people who have already suffered a heart disease at different stages in their life. For the latter, prevention may mean preventing another heart attack, the need for a heart surgery or rehabilitating oneself and recuperating from heart surgery.
The Objectives of Preventive Cardiology Program are:
Dr. Pratiksha mentions “We plan to define the program at three levels – Primary Prevention Group, Secondary prevention Group and Tertiary Prevention Group.”
(a) Long Term Objectives:
- To reduce heart disease to such a level that it ceases to be a rampant health problem.
- To reduce premature deaths caused by Coronary Heart Diseases.
- To reduce the occurrence of heart attacks and lessen morbidity and mortality associated with it.
(b) Operational or Short Term Objectives:
- To educate and create awareness amongst children and young adults about the causes of heart diseases and its prevention through lifestyle modifications.
- To detect maximum number of heart cases as early as possible amongst the general population, as it is a silent disease.
- To promote and create awareness for cost-effective, non-invasive treatment options for heart patients.
- To implement these objectives in an integrated manner through all the existing health institutions in the country.
Dr. Pratiksha states that “The IPC is a unique centre in Non-invasive treatments in the whole country that focuses and treats the disease from the root cause. As compared to surgical procedures, IPC’s Non – surgical treatments are safer and cost effective. While several similar centers have mushroomed all over the country, IPC maintains highest standards in qualitative monitoring of its services, offering more than 90% success rate. Our success lies in accurate diagnosis, correct case selection for the non-surgical treatments which is acquired over 15 years of expertise in the field. ”
IPC takes pride in providing an honest medical opinion which includes non-surgical Holistic and Integrated treatments for Heart diseases and for those people who want to save themselves from this silent killer.
“We have addressed over 5,000,000 people, trained more than 100,000 people on prevention. IPC has treated more than 30,000 critical patients with 70-100% blockages who have been advised angioplasty or bypass. They have successfully undergone IPC’s non-invasive holistic treatment, thereby avoiding surgical procedures, having fewer angina problems and are leading a healthy and an active life,” adds Dr. Pratiksha.
Holistic Cardiology Treatment
“Generally allopaths only advocate medicines and surgery. There is no in-depth analysis of the lifestyle assessment of the patients which actually contribute to the disease,” explains Dr. Pratiksha. In Holistic Cardiology Treatment, allopathic methods of diagnosis and treatment form the corner stone along with lifestyle management such as correct diet, exercise, yoga and stress management. The goal is not to jump to surgeries, but give a fair trial to advance medical management coupled with non-invasive cardiac treatments.
Alternative medicines like Ayurveda, Homeopathy are also used as an adjuvant to the main stream allopathic medical management.
“Dr. Pratiksha says, “Nowadays we often hear about people who are going about their daily activities, suddenly collapsing. This is because the disease is progressing slowly in their body and the heart attack strikes like an earthquake!”
She further mentions, “Prevention is the only vaccination available for heart disease. So those leading a stressful life, or above the age of 40, must undergo regular health checkups to monitor risk factors closely. Normally no education is given to control hypertension or high levels of cholesterol, just a simple table is given and the matter ends there. But at IPC, we always educate the patient to change his/ her lifestyle. We have a separate lifestyle education unit where regular teaching of diet, yoga and stress management is done.”
The first machine of the Enhanced External Counter pulsation (EECP), a form of a non-invasive treatment was first introduced by IPC in Maharashtra in 2004. Clinical studies over the past several years have shown that about 70-80% of the patients treated with single course of EECP, experience a reduction in an angina and are able to return to a more active lifestyle.
EECP involves the inflation and deflation of three sets of comprehensive cuffs wrapped around the patient calves, lower thighs and upper thighs including the buttocks; which creates a natural bypass by improving a co-lateral circulation within 35 sittings.
The success rate at IPC is more than 95%, because the unique Cardiac Rehab program designed by Dr Pratiksha and implemented through her team of over 100 dedicated medical and paramedical professionals, have helped treat the root cause and prevent recurrence of heart diseases in patients.
Dr. Pratiksha states the following to help us understand who can opt for a Preventive Cardiology Program at the IPC.
- If you are a heart patient who has been advised angiography, angioplasty or bypass surgery you can consult the IPC for an honest second medical opinion.
- If you have already undergone a bypass or angioplasty and have been advised another surgery and wish to avoid the same, you can visit IPC.
- To prevent the recurrence of heart problems after successful bypass and or angioplasty.
- If you have other complications and are declared unfit for cardiac surgeries.
- To improve the efficacy through non-surgical cardiac treatments for heart patients or those prone to it.
Who can go for Preventive Cardiology Program?
Those who wish to go for a Preventive Cardiology Program, are clubbed under the Preventive Group. These are individuals who have a high risk for heart diseases such as family history, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle and excessive stress can undergo advanced cardiac checkups and sign up for a customized Preventive Cardiology Program to prevent heart diseases in future.
Most common mistakes that harm your heart
Dr Pratiksha lists out the most common mistakes that we do to harm our heart:
- Not getting enough sleep
- Skipping breakfast
- Avoiding regular medical checkups
- Not exercising
- Not releasing stress
- Not controlling your temper
- Avoiding fruits and vegetables
- Going on fad diets
10 Tips to Help your Heart
Dr. Pratiksha lists out 10 vital tips that can help you have a healthy heart.
1. Healthy food intake – Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and avoid saturated fat. All processed foods should be avoided as they contain high levels of salt.
2. Get active & take heart – Even 30 minutes of activity can help to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
3. Say no to tobacco – Your risk of coronary heart disease will be halved within a year and will return to a normal level over time.
4. Maintain a healthy weight – Weight loss, especially together with lowered salt intake, leads to lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major factor for approximately half of all heart diseases and strokes.
5. Know your numbers – Visit a healthcare professional who can measure your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, together with waist-to-hip ratio and body mass index (BMI). Once you know your overall risk, you can develop a specific plan of action to improve your heart health.
6. Limit your alcohol intake – Restrict the amount of alcoholic drinks that you consume. Excessive alcohol intake can cause your blood pressure to rise and your weight to increase.
7. Insist on a smoke-free environment – Demand a tobacco ban – ensure your workplace is 100% smoke-free. Support the adoption of non -smoking. Cessation services encourage your employer to provide help to those wanting to quit tobacco.
8. Bring exercise to the workplace – Include physical activity in your working schedule – cycle to work if possible, take the stairs, exercise or go for a walk during your lunch breaks, and encourage others as well.
9. Choose healthy food options – Ask for healthy, non-oily food at your office canteen, or find nearby cafes or restaurants that serve healthy meals.
10. Encourage stress-free moments – Whilst stress has not been shown to be a direct risk factor for heart disease and stroke, it is related to smoking, excessive drinking and unhealthy eating, which are risk factors for heart disease.
- Have your lunch away from your workplace to get some fresh air
- Have regular breaks during the day – try stretching or exercising for 5 minutes twice a day
These simple and easy steps show us that taking care of our heart is not rocket science and that we should not blame work or a hectic lifestyle for our ill health. The power of good health and a healthy heart is in our hands and it is only up to us to make a choice.
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