A couple of days back I woke up to a devastating message on my WhatsApp where a certain friend of mine informed about one of our common friend’s husband who has suffered a massive heart attack and was kept in ICCU. He was 35 years old. It was shocking news because as far as we knew the couple led a very healthy lifestyle. They rarely attended parties, had no outside food except on very special occasions and her husband hated smoking and drinking. They ran marathons and attended a yoga class every morning. They were supposedly the epitome of a well-balanced lifestyle.
In today’s time, premature heart attack is not the story of just one of my friends or another of your friend, but on an average, 3 million people die annually in India due to cardiovascular diseases that also include sudden heart attacks and strokes. Heart attack these days are no longer a disease of the old age but it is a lifestyle disease now affecting people in their 20s and 30s.
Reasons for heart attack in the younger generation:
Men and women in the younger age group are always at a higher risk of developing heart diseases these days. Blame it on the lifestyle or genetics, they fall prey to this life-threatening disease and the death rate due to coronary heart disease is on the rise.
Here are some risk factors that contribute to the steady rise of heart diseases among the young in the last couple of decades –
• Occupational Stress
• Odd and long work hours
• Poor diet
• Lack of physical activity
• Sedentary lifestyle
• Overindulgence in smoking and drinking
• High cholesterol level
• Family history
Dr. Santosh Kumar Dora, a Senior Cardiologist at Asian Heart Institute has cited the fact from his years of experience and rate of young heart attack patients, “Heart attacks have always been associated with older age. However, increasingly over the past couple of decades, especially in India, younger people seem to be getting heart attacks. This is most likely due to lack of exercise, a poor diet, stress and increased incidence of diabetes and hypertension”.
According to Dr. Atul Mathur, Director, Interventional Cardiology at Fortis Escort Heart Institute, if a person is healthy looking with no fat whatsoever and has a strict exercise regime, it does not mean that he will never have heart disease or fall prey to heart attack. He states that too much of exercise is bad too. If he does strenuous exercise like running or plays sports, it might lead to an abrupt blockage in the artery that might also lead to sudden heart attacks and death.
Symptoms of heart attack:
Heart attacks can happen anywhere and everywhere, be it at the home, office, road, or restaurant. Here are a few signs and symptoms to recognize the onset of a heart attack –
• An uncomfortable pain or pressure, tightness, heaviness or squeezing kind of feeling in the middle of the chest region, lasting for a few minutes or in a pattern of going and coming back
• Chest pain or discomfort from the chest, spreading to the jaw, neck, arm, shoulder or back
• Feeling weak and light-headed (dizziness)
• Shortness of breath
• Sweating and nausea
A heart attack is an emergency situation. Be aware of these symptoms. You might be a victim too. If you ever experience any of these symptoms, immediately stop whatever you are doing. Call an ambulance or book a vehicle to take you to the nearest heart emergency center.
As per medical experts and cardiologists, youngsters should know the work-life balance. They often over-indulge in stressful life to earn more and forget relaxing. Besides they also binge-drink and binge-eat while partying hard. Our heart is never meant to take such a lot of stress and finally gives up.
It is important to develop healthy habits from an early age. Also take precautionary measures and it is very important to be aware if there is a history of cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks in your family.
Stay Healthy! Do not fall prey to premature heart attacks.