Coronary artery disease is the most prevalent heart disease in India. Indians have increased incidences of Heart disease, especially, in younger age groups.
It is estimated that Indians are nearly four times more susceptible to heart attacks, with 10-15 % of attacks happening to people under the age of 40; this is unheard of in other population. 30 is the new 40, when cardiac ailments are concerned and the age of getting heart attacks has fallen from 40 to 30 years in the last decade.
Today, people as young as in their late 20’s and 30’s, have suffered a heart Attack; this is worrisome. The incidence of acute coronary syndrome is less than 1% below the age of 30; it is matter of concern when very young individual is affected. Once affected, one loses a few years of their productive life.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms suggestive of cardiac disease in young adults should not be ignored, and it should be treated aggressively with intervention or medicine. Young heart patients show different in risk factors, presentation and outcomes, as compared to older patients.
The common risks are smoking (40-50%), stress and bad lifestyle, besides family history and Hypertension (20-25%) at times. It mostly affects men, but recently gender difference is declining as smoking prevalence is increasing among women in developing countries like ours.
Risk factors associated with heart attacks in men and women are similar; however, women using oral contraceptives are at a greater risk.
What could be the reason?
Many of us are not aware that our lifestyle and heritage could put us at risk. Modern lifestyle proved to be the instigator of heart disease. Apart from poor eating habits, sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise can trigger heart diseases. Consumption of diet, rich in fat and high calories combined with smoking, alcohol and mental stress, has compounded the problem further.
The common occurring symptom is chest pain, leading to heart attack (75%) rather than angina (25%). It is observed that exertion, prior to myocardial infarction, is more common in younger patients.
Out of three Coronary Vessels which supply blood to Heart, 80% patients have single vessel disease; but 20% of patients do have two or three vessel disease.
Earlier the diagnosis, better the outcome. Fortunately, young patients have better outcomes with Angioplasty and Thrombolysis (administering clot dissolving medicine) compared to older patients.
What you can do to prevent heart disease?
- Have regular health checkup.
- Be physically active.
- Don’t smoke and avoid passive smoking.
- Make healthy living a family affair.
- Know your family history.
- Tame your stress.
- Watch your weight right from childhood.
- Check your blood sugar and blood cholesterol.
- Measure your blood pressure regularly.
A disciplined lifestyle which entails daily fitness regimen, proper eating habits, cutting out junk food and the ability to tackle stress, will see a young, healthier India.
Every effort should be made to spread awareness about avoidable risk factors, especially, smoking and unhealthy lifestyle in the younger age groups. Robust public health and individual efforts are essential to improve and maintain healthy lifestyles in young adults.