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Updated: July 4, 2013 11:12 IST

Young increasingly prone to heart attacks

Afshan Yasmeen
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Incidence is five times more in smokers than in non-smokers

Doctors at the State-run Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences were surprised last week when a 13-year-old boy, Syed Arif, was referred to the hospital from a private hospital in Hosur.

Three years ago they had seen a 17-year-old who had suffered a heart attack.

“Arif was sent to Jayadeva as his ECG suggested he had suffered a heart attack. We were surprised because he did not have any of the known risk factors. An angiogram confirmed the ECG result and we found there was a blockage in his artery,” said institute director C.N. Manjunath.

Explaining the cause of the heart attack, Dr. Manjunath said the boy had an excessive tendency for clot formation in his body. “This is called hypercoagulable state. In our hospital, we are seeing at least five to six people aged below 25 in a year with problems related to hypercoagulable state and we are concerned about this trend,” he said.

V.S. Prakash, the doctor who attended on 24-year-old Hemant, the Kannada actor who died at the M.S. Ramaiah Narayana Hrudayalaya hospital on Wednesday, also corroborated this statement. “We are seeing more young people with heart problems mainly because of the excessive tendency for clot formation in their body,” he said.

Emphasising that smoking is an important risk factor, as in the case of Mr. Hemant, doctors say that having a balanced meal and exercising may not serve the purpose if the person continued to smoke.

“The incidence of heart attack is five times more in smokers than in non-smokers and it is catching more youngsters of late,” Dr. Manjunath said. “Nearly 50 per cent of the 3,000 patients treated in our hospital last year were found to be smokers. Teenage smoking, apart from other lifestyle-related risk factors, is one of the big causes for increase in the incidence of cardiac arrests among the young,” he said.

“Smoking accelerates the hardening and narrowing process in the arteries. A blood clot in the arteries can lead to a heart attack,” he said.

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