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Taking the long view for a longer life

  • Posted on: 16 December 2014
  • By: Irene

Season's Greetings TEDxFlourCity fans!

If you’ve ever wanted to understand what causes heart disease or how it can be prevented, Dr. Irfan Khan of the Buffalo Heart Group is the person to talk to. Dr. Khan specializes in cardiac electrophysiology, the study of disorders of the heart’s rhythm. Sudden Cardiac Arrest, or Sudden Death syndrome, is his main focus, and a major objective of his practice is to spread awareness, increase understanding, and spur preventative action in those at risk, or who know someone at risk, from succumbing to it.

Dr. Irfan Khan on the TEDxFlourCity2014 stage

Dr. Khan is ”Primarily concerned with assessing people at risk for Sudden Death and providing therapies to prevent it.

“Cardiology… is really the medicine of the heart. The way to address the risk of Sudden Death is to approach it more as a internal medicine doctor, to make changes over time…” he says.

Dr. Khan is effective at describing heart disease in an accessible way. He jokes that he is a “glorified electrician.”

"People always think a heart attack is a plumbing problem,” he says, however “ [this is] only true half the time, other time it's a power outtage…”

In his TEDxFlourCity2014 talk he explains Sudden Death as an “electrical emergency” that must be resolved immediately. Unlike a heart attack caused by a blocked artery, the symptoms leading up to Sudden Death are very few to none, and the result is that many of those who are most at risk do not realize it until it is too late. The lack of understanding of this difference has led to Sudden Death being an “epidemic hiding in plain sight.”

Dr. Khan describes treatments and key information people can use to assess their own, and their loved ones’ risk of Sudden Death. He emphasizes the importance of taking responsibility for your heart health. The main message he conveys in his medical practice and in this talk is that “It is as important to think long term about cardiovascular health as it is to think about the problem in front of you.

“My real hope would be that people would talk about it, and maybe someone will seek out treatment or ask their doctor, ‘what’s my risk for sudden death?’ that wouldn't have otherwise.”

Watch his talk “How to Not Die Suddenly”:





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Check us out next week when we highlight a speaker who addresses another hidden issue you've experienced but may have never considered. 

Have a wonderful week!