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Believe heart attacks are just for old people? It is time to think again!

Many young people, including celebrities like Siddharth Shukla, Puneeth Rajkumar and Inder Kumar, succumbed to heart attacks. This worrying trend is difficult to ignore because heart attacks were primarily a problem faced by the older generation a few years ago. It was a disease that rarely affected anyone less than 40yrs – now, one in five patients suffering from heart attacks is below 40!


Add to the above fact – suffering from a heart attack in your 20s or early 30s is more common than ever before. Between the years 2000-2016, the heart attack rate increased by 2% every year in this young age group. This also does not mean that suffering from a heart attack at a young age will have faster improvement outcomes. If you are in your 20s or 30s and have suffered a heart attack, the chances of you dying from a second major heart attack or Stroke is high, which is why this is a concerning fact. Ahead, we look at some risk factors that put individuals at risk of heart attacks, irrespective of their age.

Heart Attack - Risk Factors

Diabetes is a critical factor for early heart attack

If a person has diabetes, they are 2-4 times more likely to die from heart disease than people who don't have Diabetes. This is especially dangerous when the blood sugar is not controlled and kept within a healthy range. Since high blood sugar damages the blood vessels, and increases the chances of fats building up in the person's arteries, the risk of Atherosclerosis and heart attacks also increase significantly. In addition, people with Diabetes also suffer from chronic health conditions like Hypertension and Cholesterol, which can also lead to coronary issues, including heart attacks. All these chronic conditions are increasing dramatically in young people, which is another grave cause of concern.


Obesity can increase your chances of coronary issues

Being overweight has a significant impact on the risk of a person developing a heart attack at a later stage of their life. This is because for starters, carrying extra weight places a high demand on the human heart. Even if you are otherwise healthy, obesity alone can make a person more likely to have a heart attack. In most obese patients, conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol already exist, which can prove fatal and dangerous.



Smoking cigarettes and vaping

This is a no-brainer - smoking cigarettes can cause heart disease. Chemicals in cigarette smoke cause the cells that line blood vessels to become swollen and inflamed, narrowing the blood vessels, and leading to many cardiovascular conditions. In fact, smoking one pack a day more than doubles your risk of heart attack than non-smokers. While vaping might have fewer risks than cigarette smoking, they are still quite harmful. E-cigarettes contain Nicotine and other toxic compounds that accelerate your heart rate and raise blood pressure. A recent study has found that vaping made you 34% more likely to have a heart attack when compared to non-vapers.


All the above pointers indicate that heart attack is preventable, especially if you make the required lifestyle changes. Below are a few tips to help you keep your heart healthy and fit, especially if you are in the risk category. 


1. Refrain from smoking or using tobacco

As mentioned above, Nicotine and Tobacco are harmful to your overall health, and it is best to avoid smoking for long and healthy life. The good news is that the damage is repaired quickly for most smokers who stop smoking. Even long-time smokers can see rapid health improvements when they quit smoking.

2. Be physically active every day

Regular exercise is the key to living a good and healthy life. This is because being active helps people control their weight while reducing the chances of chronic conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 Diabetes. Even shorter bouts of activity offer heart benefits, so don't give up and include activities like gardening, housekeeping, taking the stairs and walking the dog into your daily routine.

3. Eat a heart-healthy diet

A good and healthy diet can protect the heart and improve chronic conditions in the body. A heart-healthy eating plan includes vegetables and fruits, beans or other legumes, lean meats, fish, low-fat or fat-free dairy foods, whole grains, and healthy fats, such as Olive oil. While adding these items to your diet, make sure you reduce the intake of salt, sugar, and processed carbohydrates for better results. Refer best nutritionist in mumbai for keep you healthy and strong.

4. Get good quality sleep

People who do not get good quality sleep automatically have a higher risk of suffering from Obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, Diabetes, and Depression. Set a sleep schedule and stick to it by going to bed and waking up at the exact times each day. If you feel like you've been getting enough sleep, but you're still tired throughout the day, consult a specialist at the earliest.

5. Manage stress

Many people cope with stress by overeating, drinking, or smoking. This can prove very dangerous, so make sure you reach out to mental therapy to help you deal with such issues. While we understand that stress is a regular feature of life, you need to introduce a healthy coping mechanisms that can include meditation, Yoga, and digital detox.

6. Get regular health screenings

Visiting a doctor at regular intervals is a good idea, especially if you are in the risk category (have a family history of heart disease or are suffering from chronic conditions). full body checkup & health  screenings for chronic conditions can help you stay healthy and prevent any existing condition from escalating or becoming fatal.



Dr. Manish Hinduja

Consultant-Cardio Thoracic & Vascular Surgery




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