The fact that Cardiovascular Disease is the most deadly chronic health condition across the world is not new information. Data indicates that 1 in every 4 people will suffer a heart attack. Of these, 1 in 5 people is readmitted to the hospital for a second event.
“Disease awareness is one of the most important components in ensuring not only compliance but good clinical outcomes. Your patient is not aware as to what are the consequences of the disease and the alarming symptoms. So he or she will not seek treatment, and this can have a disastrous effect on his survival” says Cardiologist Dr. Davindar Chadha about disease awareness and secondary prevention.
However, for most people, a discharge from the hospital is misconstrued for a clean bill of health. And for people who are aware that they have to alter certain aspects of their life, the motivation to make long-term changes tapers off with time.
Another alarming statistic is the average age for a cardiac incident in India has consistently dropped.
According to the Indian Heart Association, the prevalence rate of acute MI for individuals between the ages of 30 and 40 years now accounts for 25% of all cases in India. Individuals between these age groups also have higher mortality rates due to coronary artery disease (CAD).
Investigations point to a lack of interventions for modifiable risk factors along with a high genetic risk for CAD as contributing factors.
The need for cardiac rehabilitation in India
In India, the concept of a cardiac recovery programme is largely still foreign and is often met with skepticism and resistance. Numen’s health and nutrition expert, Puneet Chadha, talks about the difficulties associated with getting patients to proactively take control of their health:
“There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to making changes with most people. On one hand, you have patients who are very motivated to make changes, and on the other end, you have patients who think they can go back to living the way they used to”.
With the management of modifiable risk factors, most people with CVD can lower their risk by almost 80%.
Creating a programme that can be followed virtually was another significant factor for creating Numen. While Covid-19 ravaged the world and overwhelmed an already flawed healthcare system in India, the interventions necessary for people with chronic health conditions were moved to the back burner.
Leveraging the power of AI and the IoT, real-time data from a patient with CVD could decrease the delay between the onset of symptoms and the intervention required for an event.
For anyone who suffers a heart attack, time is a crucial factor. The longer the delay between onset of symptoms and treatment, the poorer the outcomes.
Factors that determine improvement
Most people who suffer from CVD are often told they should take their medication, eat a healthier diet, stop smoking, and exercise more. But setting the wheels in motion involves taking a multi-pronged approach.
According to Puneet Chadha, increasing a patient’s knowledge is the first step:
“There is too much information online and patients also receive a lot of input from family & friends. We have to take our time with building trust with the patient and showing them the science behind their recovery. We also have the task of showing them that with medical sciences, one size never fits all so we have to find the right size for them.”
Through a constant loop of feedback and positive reinforcement, Numen tries to create long-term adherence to the programme. With a number of our patients, implementing these actions gradually has led them to adjust better to these changes to a point where it has become part of their daily routine and is no longer perceived as a pain-staking inconvenience.
“When patients start to see results from following our programme, even a little bit of improvement is enough to get them to stay on track in the long term”, notes Puneet Chadha.
At the end of the day, Numen has become the trusted confidant that offers support and guidance to people living with a CVD. By acknowledging the struggles of having a heart condition and validating their experiences, we enable healing in all aspects of health.