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World Heart Day 2022: Causes of heart attack in youngsters and its prevention

Recently, popular TV actor Sidhharth Shukla (40), Kannada superstar Puneeth Rajkumar (47), Singer KK (53), and stand-up comedian Raju Srivastava (58) lost their lives to heart attacks.

Credit: OTVRepresentational Pic

Not so long ago, sudden cardiac arrests were primarily a problem faced by the older population. Most people in their thirties and forties never worried about having a heart attack, especially if they are healthy and physically fit. But, now, doctors say on an average, 1 in 5 heart attack patients are younger than 40 years of age. What’s even more shocking is that heart attacks have become common occurrences in 20- and 30-year-olds as well.

Recently, popular TV actor Sidhharth Shukla (40), Kannada superstar Puneeth Rajkumar (47), Singer KK (53), and stand-up comedian Raju Srivastava (58) lost their lives to heart attacks.

There is no doubt that heart attacks are on the rise among youngsters in the last few years. Speaking to OTV, Cardiologist Dr. Sushant Pradhan said that at least 25-30 per cent of cases related to cardiac arrests increased in the last five years in the country. And, at least 25 per cent of people die after suffering heart attack for the first time.  

What is heart attack?

A heart attack happens when the blood flow to the heart is severely reduced or blocked. Most heart attacks can be fatal and therefore, they need immediate medical care as and when they occur.

What are the symptoms of heart attack?

Well, symptoms of a heart attack vary. Some people have mild symptoms; some have severe symptoms while some have no symptoms. 

Common heart attack symptoms include:

  • Chest pain that may feel like pain, pressure, or tightness.
  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
  • Pain or discomfort that spreads to the shoulder, arm or upper belly.
  • Cold sweat.
  • Fatigue.
  • Heartburn or indigestion.
  • Light-headedness or sudden dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Shortness of breath.

Women are more likely to have these other symptoms such as brief or sharp pain felt in the neck, arm or back. 

What can cause a heart attack? Know the risk factors...

Heart attacks can happen to anyone – but the risk is especially high when age or genetic transmission comes into play. But, there are many risk factors that you can control and prevent the disease. Those are...

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Lifestyle

What leads to heart attacks in youngsters?

According to Cardiologist Dr. Sushant Pradhan, smoking cigarettes is one of the top risk factors that contribute to heart attacks in young adults. Speaking to OTV, the Cardiologist stressed that people who smoke have a much higher chance of getting a heart attack compared to non-smokers. 

However, not only smoking but having too much stress, for too long, is also bad for your heart. Stress, anxiety, depression, and a poor diet all lead to conditions that affect your heart health.

It's hard to believe, but, indeed, young adults are increasingly diagnosed with hypertension. Studies have suggested that depression and stress are associated with heart attacks. Unfortunately, just like the trend in heart attacks, the incidence of hypertension is rising faster in the young population than in older adults.   

According to experts, high blood pressure makes the heart muscles thicken and harms blood vessels, and increases the risk of a heart attack. Even minor stress can trigger heart problems like poor blood flow to the heart muscle. 

Types of Heart Attacks:

The three types of heart attacks are: 

•    Unstable angina: It’s a condition in which your heart doesn't get enough blood flow and oxygen.
•    ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI): It’s a major heart attack that can cause significant damage and has a greater risk of serious complications and death. The patients who will suffer STEMI heart attack need immediate medical attention. 
•    Non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI): It is a less severe form of heart attack than the STEMI because it inflicts less damage to the heart. However, it does also require immediate medical care.

Treatments for all types of heart attacks:

Regardless of the cause, all heart attacks require immediate medical attention. If your doctor suspects a heart attack, you may be treated immediately with:

•    Aspirin to reduce blood clotting
•    Nitroglycerin to relieve chest pain and improve blood flow
•    Oxygen therapy
After your doctor confirms the heart attack, they will prescribe medications. 


So, the biggest thing here? Prevention.

At the end of the day, it’s important to understand what your risk factors are – smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, unhealthy lifestyle,  – and work to correct them early. 

A person can lower their risk of having a heart attack by: 

•    Not smoking.
•    Doing at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week.
•    Reducing stress
•    Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and fish.
•    Avoiding using pump oil and coconut oil in food. 
•    Maintaining a healthy weight.

Heart attacks are not always preventable because genetic transmission is a factor. However, with simple lifestyle changes, like maintaining a healthy lifestyle, taking a proper diet, and daily exercise, a person can take significant steps toward reducing their risk.

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