Singer-composer KK passed away on Tuesday night due to a heart attack, at the age of 53, following a live performance in Kolkata. While performing at the Nazrul Mancha auditorium in the city, he fell ill and returned to his hotel where his condition deteriorated and he passed away.
According to a doctor who conducted KK’s autopsy, the singer was on antacids “probably considering some pain which he mistook as digestive problems”, PTI reported. Additionally, a senior officer of Kolkata Police revealed that his wife admitted that he took a lot of antacids. “He had told his wife during a telephonic conversation of experiencing pain in his arm and shoulders,” the IPS officer said.
Many confuse heart attack with digestive issues, Dr Subhendu Mohanty, Cardiologist, Sharda Hospital said. “To differentiate, we usually look at the risk factors such as age, blood pressure, history of smoking.”
“If somebody has these risk factors and is experiencing symptoms of digestive issues, then they should suspect a heart attack. In the absence of these risk factors, while we can’t rule out a heart problem, the probability is lower, especially if your age is below 40 years. In the latter case, the chances of you having a heart problem without any of these risk factors is very low,” the expert said.
Agreed Dr A Gopi, Director – Interventional Cardiology, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru, and said, “We check the pre-required probabilities while differentiating the two. For example, if the patient is a smoker or a diabetic etc, these are high-risk factors for a heart attack. In these patients, it is important to rule out the possibility of a heart attack.”
Further, Dr Mohanty highlighted the effect of mental stress on heart health, in current circumstances. “If a person has mental stress factors at home or in the office and experiences symptoms like chest pain, burning sensation, it could indicate a heart problem.”
Dr Gopi added that “heart attack and digestive issues present some common symptoms such as burning sensation, abdominal cramps, chest pain etc. But, if it is accompanied by symptoms such as breathing difficulties, it implies that the chances of a heart attack are more”.
The definite way to differentiate the two is through an ECG (Electrocardiography), Dr Mohanty said. He added, “If you experience such problems, get an ECG done to identify the cause. It can be life-saving. 90 per cent of the time, ECG helps detect a heart attack. If the discomfort is very severe and you have the above-mentioned risk factors, it shouldn’t be ignored at any cost.”
“In case of absence of these risk factors, there’s no harm in waiting for an hour and seeing if your antacid is working or not. The main problem is that when an antacid fails to relieve the symptoms, people continue popping more tablets instead of going to a doctor. If it doesn’t get resolved with the first tablet, immediately get an ECG done. Do not postpone for more than 45 minutes-1 hour,” the cardiologist said.