MOH News
Medical Tips for Pilgrims with Heart Diseases
14 September 2015
The consultant in cardiology, arterial catheterization and tomography and nuclear imaging, Dr. Khaled Al-Nemr, stated that certain groups of people are not advised to perform Hajj: those who suffer heart pain (3rd and 4th stages), and those who feel pain in the heart when walking for 10 meters or less. Such groups include, also, persons having uncontrolled blood pressure, shortness of breath (3rd and 4th stages), heart failure accompanied by swelling in legs. Among the groups discouraged from performing Hajj are patients who have suffered a heart attack in a month, or who have recently undergone the procedure of cardiovascular stent placement, and finally those suffering from heart valves stenosis.
 

He also warned heart patients, who intend to perform Hajj, to avoid overcrowded areas and peak hours, stressing that this is very important for pilgrims in general, and heart patients in particular. Additionally, he advised them to avoid fatty and salty meals, drink a lot of liquids, and avoid excessive use of diuretics. That is because the weather is hot and dry; which is likely to cause a drop in blood pressure. He also underlined the importance of sleeping for a sufficient time, and avoiding staying up late and exhaustion.

 

Dr. Khalid Al-Nemr provided these health tips while being interviewed by the MOH's Media Information and Health Awareness Center, as part of the program dubbed: (Pilgrims' Health Is Our Top Concern), launched by the Ministry  for the twelfth consecutive year. It takes as its goal bolstering pilgrims health awareness, especially heart patients and the elderly. The center receives their inquiries and answers them in a manner that helps them better understand their health condition, and whether they would be able to perform Hajj rituals, via the Center's toll-free number: 8002494444 allocated by the Ministry for the public and the MOH's Twitter account: @saudimoh.

 

Al-Nemr provided health tips to be followed by the heart patients who intend to perform the Hajj. The most important of these tips are: carrying an identification card containing information on the drugs and diseases suffered by the pilgrim, and taking the necessary vaccinations such as: meningitis vaccine, seasonal flu vaccine, because the heart patients, especially those with weak heart muscle (cardiomyopathy), are more susceptible than others to serious complications in case of getting infected with influenza; this could amount to heart failure. He also pointed to the importance of personal hygiene and the use of masks for protection from diseases transmitted through droplets in the air amongst pilgrims, in addition to avoiding stampede. He confirmed that Hajj is a quite arduous religious duty, and that  majority of pilgrims are old people, and many of them with heart problems. Therefore, the patient must visit his doctor to see whether he can perform Hajj or not, and, if yes, arrange with the doctor how the treatment plan should be like.  

 

Dr. Khalid advised the heart patients who intend to perform Hajj to see the doctor, without hesitation, in case of appearance of any heart symptoms, such as: shortness of breath, fainting and dizziness. On the symptoms that necessitate seeing a cardiologist immediately, he said they include: chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting and palpitations. He emphasized that the doctor should be visited as a way of prevention before the onset of symptoms, stressing that the heart patient who intends to perform Hajj should keep with him a medical report in English, and sufficient amounts of drugs that would suffice for pilgrimage. Also, according to Dr. al-Nemr, the cardiac patient should make sure to take prescribed medicines regularly, and not to stop taking them for any reason, except under medical supervision.

 



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