Dr. Akhil Kumar, Head of Medicine and Consultant Cardiology, Internal Medicine at Royale Hayat Hospital, is from India, where he completed his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.), Bachelor of Surgery and Medicine (MBBS) and finally Master of Medicine (MD). Soon after, he started his career as a Medical Specialist at the Ministry of Health in Riyadh. From there he moved to UK to attain the Membership of the Royal College of Physicians, and joined a private sector specialty hospital in Riyadh as a Consultant Cardiologist. Dr. Akhil has spent some time in Dubai, before moving to Kuwait in 2012. Meanwhile he has been conferred upon with The Fellowship of the Royale College of Physician, Edinburgh UK. In Kuwait initially he worked at Taiba Hospital, before moving to the present job at the Royale Hayat Kuwait, writes Rawan Qabazard.

Why did you choose this specialty? The subject and specialty of Cardiology is not only interesting, it is challenging and rewarding as well. Across the world, heart diseases are affecting a large section of population and that too at their prime age. A timely intervention in the form of preventive management is  the backbone of the therapeutic approach. Besides the management of the risk factors, the art of diagnostic tools are so appropriate in stratifying severity of the disease that an appropriate management plan can be drawn to a very high accuracy. The therapeutic intervention has become  an art of state tool and it yields very satisfactory results. All these aspects of cardiology make this field very interesting.

What was the most interesting procedure you performed in your career? While in the field of Internal Medicine and Cardiology,  we perform a wide variety of procedures. Besides  routine procedures, the challenging are the ones we do during emergency situations, like placing a Pacemaker in cases of heart blocks, removal of fluid from heart called pericardiocentesis, performing thrombolysis to dissolve  the clot in cases of heart attacks, then taking patients for angioplasty to open the blocked artery are a few of them. Besides that, a whole lot of diagnostic procedures that we perform like cardiac stress test, stress echocardiography, ECG monitoring and BP monitoring etc.

What kind of procedures do you perform here at Royale Hayat? At Royale Hayat Hospital, Department of Cardiology,  we practice the clinical or preventive cardiology. Here  we perform non-invasive procedures like ECG, Cardiac Stress Test, 2D Doppler echocardiography, stress Echocardiography, Ambulatory ECG monitoring, Ambulatory BP monitoring, Cardiac CT Angiography etc.

In your field, what are the most common health issues in this region? As is happening around the world, Kuwaiti population is  not much different. What is most alarming among them  is the prevalence of Obesity and the Diabetes Mellitus and then various complications of this chronic ailment; smoking being another common social habit, it has added to the fuel in the form of Ischemic heart diseases; and then comes the hypertension, chronic lung diseases, peripheral vascular disease and brain stroke etc.

Neurological diseases such as migraines are very common, what are some of the simple, yet effective, treatments for that? If you have migraines or a family history of migraines, a doctor trained in treating headaches (neurologist) will likely diagnose migraines based on your medical history, symptoms, and a physical and neurological examination. Migraine treatments can help stop symptoms and prevent future attacks.

There are some Self-care measures can help ease migraine pain. Practice muscle relaxation exercises. Relaxation techniques may include progressive muscle relaxation, meditation or yoga. Get enough sleep, but don’t oversleep. Get the right amount of sleep each night, making sure to go to bed and wake up at a consistent time. Rest and relax. Try to rest in a dark, quiet room when you feel a headache coming on. Place an ice pack wrapped in a cloth on the back of your neck and apply gentle pressure to painful areas on your scalp. Keep a headache diary. Continue recording in your headache diary even after you see your doctor. It will help you  learn more about what triggers your migraines and what treatment is most effective. Ultimately the patient has to learn to recognize the factors causing these attacks and how to avoid those factors.

What advice do you give our readers for their general health and well being? Basically a healthy lifestyle is the key to a state of physical and mental well-being. A proper, balanced nutritious meal-plan, proper sleep and regular exercise is must on a daily basis. Exercise should include stretching, aerobics, basic yoga and then meditation. These are the fundamentals of a healthy life in any stage of life or state of illness.

Once, unfortunately enough, one develops any of those chronic diseases, then one must try to understand the disease process, its course over a period of time and the various interventions available. The person should comply to the advise given by the physician and the medications prescribed. Most the complications developed over a period of time are a result of non-compliance and that happens due to negligence by the patient which in turn happens due to poor understanding of the disease process.

Dr. Akhil Kumar – Head of Internal Medicine, Consultant of Cardiology, Internal Medicine and Family Clinic

• Fellow of Royal College of Physicians (Edin) // Member of Royal College of Physicians (UK) // Member of Royal College of Physicians (Edin) // Member of European Society of Heart Failure // Work experience in Middle East – KSA & UAE