Awareness of heart issues gets stronger with countless efforts - GulfToday

Awareness of heart issues gets stronger with countless efforts

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Photo has been used for illustrative purpose.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Cardiologists said advancements in technology that improve the delivery of healthcare pivot the care for a healthy heart and in connection with the observance of the September 29 (Wednesday) World Heart Day, dentists claimed that while there are conflicting conclusions or understanding of the correlation between cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and oral health/dental hygiene based on various research, they also pointed out that these are closely associated with each other, according to their respective observational data.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Harnessing the Power of Digital Health to Improve Awareness, Prevention and Management of CVD Globally” and in a Tuesday press release, Ministry of Health and Prevention undersecretary/Emirates Health Services-Board of Directors chairman Dr Mohammed Salim Al Olama said: “Marking (World Heart Day) is part of our commitment to enhancing awareness about healthy lifestyles and highlighting the importance of the early screening of (CVD) risk factors. The ministry is determined to continue its efforts aimed at enhancing the best practices for (CVD) prevention and launching specific plans and projects to provide tangible solutions to such healthy challenges, in accordance with international best practices and evidence-based research.”

Al Futtaim Health-Tashafi Clinic general practitioner dentist Dr Mustafa Sarihkaya cited a 2012 decision by the American Heart Association (AHA) dissociating oral and dental health alongside the treatment of periodontal diseases (the result of the infections and inflammation of the gums and bone that surround the teeth), reducing the risk for CVDs, as no proofs had been established: “However, other studies also showed that gingival and periodontal diseases are associated with the increased risk of developing heart disease. Also, bad oral hygiene with dental infections increases the risk of bacterial infection in the blood stream which can affect the heart valves and particularly can cause infections if the patient has artificial heart valves.”

“Even though oral hygiene cannot prevent CVDs; but, it is very important to reduce the risk by brushing the teeth at least twice a day, to also protect the gingiva (gums), flossing them and most importantly, schedule periodic dental check-ups (for the cleaning and treatment of any decaying teeth),” said Sarihkaya who so far had not encountered any patient suffering from any form of CVD and periodontal/gum problems. He encourages those with “very poor and dental hygiene” to consult a heart doctor.

“Studies have shown a link between gum and heart diseases although not universally accepted by all specialists. Dentists are in a unique position to screen patients and who do so by taking their blood pressure, (especially if it is their first time with us),” said Israel-based Dr. Adam Nahoum, owner of a chain of dental clinics bearing his name. He shared that in the course of the protocol check-up he termed as “simple intake test,” a patient has been under the wing of a cardiologist for a heart condition.

Medeor Hospital (Dubai) general & aesthetic dentist Dr. Saimy Sainudeen said: “There is now evidence of two specific links between oral health and heart disease. First, recent studies show that if you have a gum disease in a moderate or advanced stage, you are at a higher risk for heart disease than someone with healthy gums. And second, your oral health can provide doctors with warning signs for a range of diseases and conditions, including those in the heart.”

In line with Sarihkaya’s take on bacterial infection from the teeth, gums and mouth to other parts of the body, Sainudeen said: “Bacteria and other germs (flow) through the bloodstream. When these bacteria reach the heart, they can attach themselves to any damaged area and cause inflammation. This can result in illnesses such as Endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart. According to the AHA, other (CVDs) such as Atherosclerosis or clogged arteries and Stroke have also been linked to inflammation caused by oral bacteria. Patients with chronic gum conditions such as Gingivitis or advanced periodontal diseases have the highest risk for heart disease, particularly if these remain undiagnosed and unmanaged. Good oral hygiene and regular dental examinations are the best way to protect yourself against gum disease development.

On digital health, Adam Vital Hospital (Dubai) Cardiology specialist Dr Tamer Mahmoud mentioned of the following gadgets that have helped managed the “hazards of CVDs”: subcutaneous defibrillators that could stand alone without a metal generator pocket, robotic sleeves that fit around the heart and helps it to beat, three-dimensional bio printed heart tissue which can bio print a human cardiac muscle patch and can help speed up recovery from acute heart failure.

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