Marking the First Angina Awareness Week in India

Marking the First Angina Awareness Week in India

Marking the First Angina Awareness Week in India, The Association of Physicians of India and Abbott Unveil an Action Plan on Angina Management

Bengaluru June 22, 2024: The Association of Physicians of India (API), along with global healthcare company Abbott, today initiated the first ever ‘Angina Awareness Week’ in India, from June 19th to June 25th. Through this, they aim to highlight the importance of early angina diagnosis and its optimal management to reduce the risk of cardiac events and improve patient outcomes. To mark this week, they collectively unveiled an Action Plan drafted by Abbott, titled, ‘Optimal Treatment of Angina (OPTA): The need of the hour,’ highlighting best standards for timely detection and management.

Dr. Ashwini Pawar, Medical Director, Abbott India said, “Angina remains an under-diagnosed condition in India, even today. As a result of this, many do not receive optimal treatment. It’s important to address this challenge given the growing burden of cardiovascular diseases, as well as its associated cost to the country of roughly 2.17 trillion US dollars between 2012 and 2030iv. With the support from Association of Physicians of India, we’re committed to driving awareness through the initiation of the ‘Angina Awareness Week’ in India to help in earlier diagnosis and optimal angina management.”

Angina, experienced as discomfort, pain, heaviness, or squeezing in the chest, is a common initial symptom of coronary artery disease. India ranks second worldwide when it comes to cardiovascular disease-related mortality, and CVDs account for 20.3% and 16.9% of annual mortality across men and women in the country respectively.[i] This makes it especially vital to pay attention to warning signs like angina, which can also result in light-headedness, discomfort in one’s arms, back, and more. Obesity is also a strong angina risk factor, especially in women compared to men. People living with diabetes also tend to report more extensive coronary disease, if unaddressed.

The comprehensive action plan uncovers insights on angina, from its disease burden to key challenges and recommendations for doctors to consider. Indians have a 20-50% higher CAD mortality rate than any other population. Also, CAD related mortality and disability rates have doubled over the last 30 years in India. Indians also frequently display atypical angina symptoms, which may lead to missed diagnoses.[ii] Such signs include shortness of breath, excessive sweating, heartburn, nausea or stable angina, a kind of chest pain that can be triggered by emotional or physical stress or exercise. Women are more likely than men to display uncommon symptoms – like jaw or neck pain, exhaustion, and non-chest discomfort, which can pose a challenge in diagnosis. This may result in doctors offering symptomatic relief solutions without addressing underlying angina causes, which is further heightened when patients deny the existence of their symptoms.

Identifying angina early is essential to start interventions and help delay disease progression, alleviate symptoms, and reduce the risk of more serious cardiac events while avoiding additional healthcare costs. Recognizing this, Abbott developed three unique tools, including the OPTA clinical checklist, OPTA questionnaire, and OPTA approach, to support angina’s diagnosis, prognosis, and medical management respectively. With API’s recommendation of the OPTA tools in clinical practice, they will help healthcare professionals with timely diagnosis, which is the first step towards optimal management.

Dr. Milind Y Nadkar, President, API, commented, “Indians experience cardiovascular diseases a decade earlier than those in western countries, which makes it vital to address the early age of onset and rapid disease progression in a timely manner.[iii] With the country also recording the highest rate of coronary artery disease worldwide, it is essential to bring more awareness to symptoms like angina, which commonly affect Indians, but are often neglected. By supporting the country’s general practitioners and cardiologists through various measures and tools, we aim to strengthen effective diagnosis and disease management.”

Others experts including Dr. V.T Shah, Senior Interventional Cardiologist, Mumbai and Dr. Agam Vora, General Secretary, API also highlighted key information on angina and coronary artery diseases.

The recommended action plan also highlights the need for healthcare practitioners adopting tools to support faster risk detection and follow a holistic management plan. In addition, minimally invasive procedures, and innovative technologies, such as devices for connected care and diagnostics that use artificial intelligence (AI), will play an important role in early detection, monitoring, and personalized treatment options. These therapies will help reduce recovery time, minimize complications, and improve patient outcomes. Overall, the future of cardiac care in India appears promising because of advances in medical technology, increasing awareness about heart health, and India’s evolving healthcare infrastructure.

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Neel Achary is the editor of Business News This Week. He has been covering all the business stories, economy, and corporate stories.