By Dr Nimit C Shah
It will be irrational and naïve to still believe that heart attacks or cardiac related issues are restricted only to the older population. Over the last few years, complaints related to heart health are on the uptick in the younger population as well. Recently, with lot of well-known young celebrities succumbing to cardiovascular diseases, there have been multiple conversations and discussions on the trend of increasing number of people from the younger age group facing cardiac related health issues early on.
Cardiologists across the country are finding increasing number of cases of heart diseases in the young population. The phenomenon has been termed as ‘pre-matured heart attack’ in the medical community, which simply means that young people between the age of 20-35 are complaining of chest pain, clots and experiencing heart attacks in severe cases. Surprisingly, not only heart diseases, but further tests and follow-up consultations reveal that the younger population has a huge subset which is also suffering from hypertension.
In the last one year, Covid-19 has played a major impact on heart health. Increasing tendency of clot formation in the blood vessels due to Covid-19 infection has led to several cardiac issues. The Covid-19 recovered patients with other morbidities such as obesity, high cholesterol, diabetics, history of smokers, etc. are found to be more prone to heart attacks. The second wave of Covid-19 has led to a surge in such high-risk patients with heart related ailments, post recovery.
Apart from Covid-19, there are several other reasons leading to a rise in heart related issues among this young audience. India has high incidence rate of diabetes and hypertension, which are two leading causes of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). As per the World Health Organization (WHO), out of the total deaths due to non-communicable diseases in India, 27% of deaths were attributed to cardiovascular diseases. The findings of the recent Global Burden of Disease Study stated that death rate in India due to CVDs is 272 per 1 lakh population, which is much higher than the global average of 235. The report also stated that CVDs strike Indians a decade earlier than the western population.
In terms of lifestyle, the disruptive daily routines of the young population are the prime reason for such pre-matured heart attacks. Late night working hours, increased stress levels, smoking and sedentary lifestyle plays a huge role in escalating heart related ailments.
Experts suggest a few heart disease prevention or mantras to get you started as advised by American Heart Association (AHA).
Work with your doctor. Get a checkup at least once each year, even if you feel healthy. A doctor, will check for conditions that can go unnoticed for too long and can put you at risk for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.
Exercise should be done for 30 minutes on most days of the week. Physical activity can help you to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and beer control of diabetes. Eat a healthy diet. Decrease the salt in your diet. Adults should have at least five servings each day, be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Maintain a healthy weight. Research shows that reaching and keeping to a healthy weight cuts your risk of heart disease, stroke because it helps prevent and manage conditions that put you at a greater risk of coronary heart disease like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. It’s important to keep to a healthy weight so you don’t develop them in future, even if you don’t have any of these conditions.
Get enough quality sleep. Several recent studies show links between shortened sleep duration, defined as less than six hours of sleep, and increased risk of heart disease. Poor sleep has been linked to high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (clogging or hardening of the arteries), heart failure, heart attack, cardiac arrest, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you don’t smoke, don’t start and if you do, quit it soon.
(The author is Consultant Interventional cardiologist, MBBS, MRCP (UK), MD (UK), CCT in Cardiology (Oxford, UK), Interventional fellowship (Dorset Heart Centre, UK). The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult health experts and medical professionals before starting any therapy or medication. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)
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