35% of first heart attack victims are under 35, shows survey

Photo for representational purposes only

Photo for representational purposes only   | Photo Credit: Suze777/Getty Images/iStockphoto


Gone are the days when children brought their parents to a cardiologist. Now, doctors in India are seeing parents bringing their children, even as young as 16 with symptoms of cardiovascular diseases. A ‘First attack survey’ done in the State-run Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences found that 35% of the 2,200 patients registered with first cardiac event in their lifetime were aged less than 35.

Revealing this during a talk on ‘Profile of heart diseases in India: Risk factor and recent advances’ at the 107th Indian Science Congress on Saturday, institute director C.N. Manjunath said there had been a 22% increase in admissions of premature heart attack patients. Every month about 150 youngsters with heart attack are admitted in the institute. The survey was done for over two years from July 2017.

Attributing this to stress, loneliness and job losses, weather, vulnerable economy, and sedentary lifestyle apart from ‘screen addiction’ besides addiction to alcohol, narcotics, and smoking, Dr. Manjunath quoted the example of a 20-year-old who was preparing for competitive examination. “He came with chest pain and the diagnosis was heart attack. Stress is one of the important thing we have to be cautious about,” he said.

While chest pain, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity, and dyslipidaemia are the conventional risk factors, many youngsters are exhibiting non-conventional risk factors such as pre-diabetes/insulin resistance, low HDL (good cholesterol) with high triglycerides, high lipoprotein, low vitamin ‘D’ levels, abdominal obesity, premature menopause, and fatty liver, he said.

Importance of walking

Advising people to not sit for long hours, Dr. Manjunath said sitting for more than six hours is equal to smoking a cigarette. “Sitting more than six hours a day decreases the lifespan of men by 20% and women by 40%. Standing is also an exercise and walking is extremely important. If you walk for at least 45 minutes a day, your lifespan increases by eight to 10 years and there are various studies to prove this,” he said, and added that air pollution was another emerging risk factor.

Chest pain or pressure is the most common symptom of a heart attack. However, people who are having a heart attack may experience a variety of conditions. “Some patients get pain in the throat region. Some people get pain in the jaw and some even get pain in the upper back. We have some patients who never had chest pain but severe pain in the stomach region with sweating, giving an impression of gastritis, and were diagnosed with heart attack,” he said.

‘Best genetic bank transfer’

Those, whose parents live healthy, without developing non-communicable diseases beyond 70 years, have a reason to cheer. “Such children are less likely to develop these diseases in their adulthood. This is the best genetic bank transfer that such parents can do in the name of their children,” said Dr. Manjunath.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 10:03:14 AM |

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