HEART AND BONES | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 01, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:33 AM, May 17, 2015



On April 25, 2015 a healthcare awareness programme was organised by the Dhaka Club, where two renowned doctors from Malaysia, cardiologist Dr Balachandan Kandasamy and orthopaedic and spine surgeon Dr Abdul Hadi Husin were invited to speak about their areas of expertise and the facilities available at their respective institutions to treat these illnesses.

Dr Balachandan Kandasamy, who is a Consultant Cardiologist at the National Heart Institute of Malaysia (IJN), spoke about the various causes of heart diseases and what precautions we should take if certain symptoms surface. “Heart disease involves a cardiovascular system which controls the circulation of blood to all organs of our body from the brain to other extremities,” he said. “If you have an organ that is not receiving proper blood flow, you can have a heart attack. If you have hypertension you can get kidney problems. If there are problems in the cerebral (brain) circulation, you can get a stroke,” he informed us. “Heart disease is the number one killer, it can cause sudden death or disability and affects people between 40 to 60 years of age. Treatment for heart diseases is lifelong and costly but these are preventable.” 

Dr Kandasamy informed us that some people show no symptoms, of heart disease, especially diabetics. “This is why one must go for a check up atleast once,” he said. “Symptoms of heart diseases include chest pains, angina, palpitations (heart beating fast) and breathing problems. Women mostly complain of shortness in breath,” he explained. “The stress test (ECG) is a good test to get done; a stress eco and an MRI are also options.” 

The symptoms of a heart attack include heaviness, nausea, loss of breath and chest pains. “Women do not have chest pains but they feel fatigue and they sweat profusely,” said Dr Kandasamy. He also spoke of the different types of stents that can be inserted into our arteries if there are blockages such as bare and drug-coated stents. The main causes of heart diseases include smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, a sedentary lifestyle and stress. “Prevention is the best way to deal with these illnesses,” said Dr Kandasamy. “Diet, exercise and good lifestyle habits are the best way to keep these diseases at bay.”

Dr Abdul Hadi Husin, who is a Consultant Orthopaedic and Spine Surgeon at KPJ Healthcare Berhad, works on shoulders, joints and knees, but his specialty is the spine. “Everyone has back pain a few times in life,” he said. Dr Husain tells us that there are various causes of back pain, injury of course being one of them. “However, sometimes diseases like cancer presents itself as back pain, but a majority of it happens due to degeneration,” he told us. “Those who lift heavy things regularly have earlier degeneration (labourers etc). Posture, smoking, alcohol abuse, stress, awkward sleep are other reasons back pain surfaces,” he said. “We usually use questionnaires to categorise your pain and determine treatment for you. Exercises and massages can help. Thai massages however are not recommended. A gentle massage to reduce the pain to tone the muscles so the pain does not recur is recommended. Acupuncture, physiotherapy, posture modification and medication are of course effective. If all else fails, we go for epidural steroid injections, for temporary relief. Sometimes we put in metal plates to stabilise the spine,” he informed us. 

Oftentimes, Bangladeshis will go to Singapore, Thailand or India for treatment.  

The purpose of this programme was to make us aware of our treatment options in Malaysia where the facilities are just as advanced and perhaps more affordable. 

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