Rise in incidence of heart attacks among younger individuals

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Shimla

21 December 2021

DIVYA AZAD

Heart attacks have always been thought of as a problem associated with older individuals. However, recent statistics suggest that there has been an increase in the incidence of heart attacks in younger individuals in the age group of 25 to 30 as well. The need of the hour is to raise awareness on the risk factors as well as the lifestyle changes one must take to prevent a heart attack.  A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood in the heart vessels is blocked. One of the major causes of this blockage is accumulation of cholesterol. The risk factors for heart attack today include unhealthy diet and lifestyles that youngsters lead today.

Speaking about this, Dr Ankur Ahuja, Senior Consultant, Cardiology, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, said, “Young adults who have had a heart attack are more likely to be either obese or have comorbidities such as diabetes or blood pressure. Apart from a family history of the condition, young adults who smoke regularly or indulge in drug abuse are also prone to heart attacks. Hectic lifestyles, looming deadlines, and erratic working hours contribute to stress which can eventually precipitate a heart attack. Of late, air pollution is also emerging as a big factor leading to heart attacks in younger adults. This is because they are more exposed to it than a sedentary older adult.”

Adding further, Dr Ankur Ahuja, said, “Although it is rare, young women, particularly during pregnancy, can experience what is called the spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD). This can often present as a heart attack. There is thus a need to follow a preventive lifestyle from a young age and ensure that avoidable risk factors are managed.”

The treatment for heart attack is usually same in all adults and medicines are equally effective. The most common treatment is coronary angioplasty. In this process, the Interventional cardiologist inserts a long, thin tube (catheter) into the narrowed part of the artery. Athin wire mesh (Stent) mounted on a deflated balloon is then passed through the catheterto the narrowed area. The balloon is inflated, compressing the deposits against the arterywalls and leaving the expanded stent embedded in the artery. There are drug eluting stentswhich are well studied and approved by the USFDA and safe even in patients with othercomplications like diabetes, high bleeding risks, etc.

Tips to prevent heart attack

·         It is important to make changes in diet and lifestyle. A wholesome diet and exercise can mitigate the risk of a heart attack.

·         Abstinence from smoking and drugs also bring down the risk of a heart attack.

·         In individuals with a strong family history of heart ailments, medicines can help bring down the results significantly.

·         It is also imperative to manage stress. One can adopt techniques such as yoga and meditation to do this.

·         There is also a need to keep a regular check on vital parameters such as blood sugar and blood pressure.

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