(World Heart Day-29th Sept, 2020)
A young 34 years techie from Bengaluru was on work from home at Belagavi was brought to the hospital with complaints of chest pain, sweating profusely and pain in the left hand. He was immediately shifted to the Intensive Cardiac Care Unit (ICCU). ECG and other investigations revealed that he had a massive MI (Heart attack). Immediately he was put of thrombolysis therapy (“clot-busting” delivered through an intravenous (IV) line. The drug circulates in the bloodstream & reduces the blood clot). Of late, more and more young & productive age groups of people falling prey to cardiac diseases which is a disturbing trend.
This 34-year software engineer was working 5 days a week and is on work from home for the last 6 months at Belagavi. This is not the only young case, Youth reporting with chest pain is on the increasing trend and are becoming victims of heart disease. Twenty years ago, heart attack in youths was not the case for discussion in Medical Colleges.
The history of the techie revealed; he is nondiabetic, not hypertensive, he had no family history of heart disease which are usually considered risk factors for heart disease. He was obese with a sedentary lifestyle and had frequent night-outs and consumed packed food.
Economic independence, nuclear families, frequent night-outs, regular alcohol consumption, a drug for fun, appetite for deep fired, palatable spicy food with no regular exercise regimen and cutthroat competitions, stress are emerging as major risk factors for early heart attacks in young groups. Tech-savvy professionals are virtually glued to laptops, tabs, cellular phones, and are socially disconnected. Till late night they are on calls from abroad and are always aloof in the room with the pretext of privacy and no disturbance during call hours. Such work culture is detrimental to health and ‘youth are becoming old’. As per me, the poor physical activity, excess screen time, not adhering to traditional food habits, lack of discipline in life is also contributing to an increase in the incidence of heart disease.
• Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) is the leading cause of mortality in India. In 2016, the estimated prevalence of CVDs in India was estimated to be 54.5 million. One in 4 deaths in India is now because of CVDs with ischemic heart disease and stroke responsible for >80% of this burden. These diseases tend to affect patients in the most productive years of their lives and result in catastrophic social and economic consequences.
• The research presented at the 2019 conference of the American College of Cardiology, spotlights an alarming trend: a rising incidence of heart attacks in younger adults. The study was the first to compare “young” heart attack survivors (41 to 50 years old) to “very young” survivors (age 40 or younger). The proportion of under-40 adults having a heart attack rose by 2 percent a year for the last 10 years.
• The study also found that 40 percent of Indians under the age of 55 develop heart attack, of which 50 percent of heart patients have their first episode or get their first warning signal. Combining all of the above statistics show that young people in India are more prone to heart attacks.
Key Risk Factors of Heart disease in Youth
• Substance abuse or excessive alcohol use
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol levels
• Lack of physical activity
• Poor dietary habits
• Excessive stress
I advise people of this group must get their preventive health check-up done at least once a year. Managing your health in the early thirties and watch out for blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, hopefully, youth will not have problems when they are in their fifties.
Can we prevent heart disease? Yes, we can prevent:
People of any age group or gender regardless of family history of heart diseases are at risk of cardiovascular diseases. We can prevent or push it to happen later in life. The best way to do so is by adopting a healthy lifestyle right from today.
Tips to maintain a healthy heart:
• Eat healthy food – Let us adopt a healthy diet low in saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, sugars, and added sweeteners. Eat more fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich wholegrain, nuts, pulses, seeds and low-fat dairy products. Adopt to less oil, less spicy cooking methods.
• Develop an active lifestyle – Get into the habit of daily yoga, aerobics, or brisk walks. Regularity in your fitness routine is as important as starting the activity.
• Quit smoking – immediately quit smoking and also avoid passive smoke.
• Family history – It is essential to keep track of the family history of heart diseases as it increases your risk of getting one. You control or delay your risk of heart disease by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, not smoking and eating right.
• Stress management – Long-term stress causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure that may damage the artery walls. Learn stress management practices such as meditation and deep breathing exercises to relax.
• Control Diabetes, Blood Pressure: Look out for your sugar levels & BP (Keep it under control). Get your heart-health screenings at least once a year.
• Learn the warning signs of a heart attack – Heart attack symptoms in women can be different than men. Knowing when you’re having a heart attack or stroke means that you’re more likely to seek and get immediate help.
Empower yourself for keeping your Heart Healthy on this World Heart Day and every day for any heart related queries please send mail to, [email protected]
Dr. Suresh V. Patted
Prof. & HOD Department of Cardiology, KLES Dr. Prabhakar Kore Hospital & MRC, Belagavi.