The death of a 30-year-old software engineer while taking a bath in a flat at DLF City Phase 1 has sent shock waves across the Millennium City. Though the police are yet to establish the exact cause of Virender Pal’s death, his roommate has claimed that he was on medication for heart disease.
The city is witnessing a sudden spurt in cases of heart problems among the youth during winter.
“In cold weather, the number of youths suffering from heart ailments increases by 25%. This is due to the extreme cold conditions that lead to spasms in the arteries,” said Dr Naresh Trehan, chairman and managing director of Medanta-The Medicity.
According to cardiologists, more than 10% of the youth in Gurgaon suffer from cardiovascular diseases (CVD), mainly due to the sedentary lifestyle and wrong eating habits. And the disease gets aggravated during the winters.
The number of youth with heart problems is increasing faster in India, compared to the West.
"The average age of people with heart ailments is coming down. We are getting patients as young as 25 years,” said Dr Balvir Kalra, senior cardiologist at Artemis Health Sciences.
With the mercury level dipping to zero degree Celsius, youths tend to smoke and consume more alcohol to keep themselves warm.
“These days the youth adopt such means to keep themselves warm without realising that smoking and drinking leads to severe heart problems. Wrong diet, sedentary lifestyle and stress at work are the other factors that add on. The extreme cold acts as a catalyst,” said Kalra.
Kalra said 50% of the cases, such as Virender Pal, don’t even reach the hospital.
“They just collapse without even knowing what went wrong. Many a times an abdomen pain is treated as gas or indigestion. One must see a doctor even for a common cold or a simple pain in the abdomen, especially in the winters,” he added.
Snacks and sweets such as jalebi, samosa, gulab jamun, etc. that are relished best during the winters are cooked in hydrogenated oil or used oil.
Consumption of such oil thickens the blood which leads to arterial plaque — the main reason for blockages in the arteries.
Dr Trehan said, “Recently, I operated on a 14-year-old boy for blockage as his mother used to feed him half-a-glass of ghee every day.”