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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

Never too young for a heart attack

Rhythma Kaul, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 26, 2013
First Published: 00:22 IST(26/9/2013) | Last Updated: 01:17 IST(26/9/2013)

You can never be too young to have a heart disease or an attack. Pranay Bisht, a bubbling 24-year-old youngster, learnt it the hard way.

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During a workout session in the gym last month, Bisht felt a sudden discomfort in his chest. But never did it occur to him that the pain could be due to a heart attack. After all, how many 24-year-olds did take slight chest pain for a heart attack?

“I thought it was because of the heavy weights that I used to lift while exercising. So, I ignored the pain and went home early that day,” says Bisht.

At home, Bisht continued to ignore the nagging pain till he started having problem in breathing soon after dinner.

“As if the pain was not enough, the moment I finished my dinner I developed difficulty in breathing. I waited for a couple of hours, but when it didn’t get any better, I went to a hospital,” he says.

A resident of Sector-5 in Dwarka, Bisht was rushed to the nearby Rockland Hospital at around 11.30pm. On his way to the hospital, Bisht passed out, and regained consciousness only around 4am the next morning. 

“Doctors in the hospital told me that I survived only because of my age; it would otherwise have been impossible for me to survive the massive heart attack that I suffered,” he says.

His two arteries had blockages - one of them was 100% blocked and needed a stent.  It took two days for Bisht to come to terms with the fact that he had suffered a heart attack.

“At 24 you don’t think of a chest pain as heart attack. Where did I go wrong?” the question troubled him a great deal.

With no family history of heart diseases and no underlying medical condition such as diabetes or hypertension etc., it was his faulty lifestyle that led to the attack, according to the doctors.

 So severe was his attack that the doctors who treated him found only 30% of his heart functioning when he was rushed to the hospital. 

“He was going towards a heart failure. The attack was a direct result of his flawed lifestyle — he was overweight, a smoker and wouldn’t sleep for more than four-five hours in a day, at times not sleep for a couple of days altogether. He consumed excessive red meat and all these are perfect ingredients for developing a heart disease,” said Dr BK Dubey, director, department of cardiology, Rockland Hospital.

Nekhil Karan Chawla, 40, has a similar story to share; with 60 packets of cigarettes a day to working for 13-14 hours, irregular food habits and barely sleeping for 3-4 hours, it was a disaster waiting to happen. He had a heart attack in May at the age of 39.

“His was a completely lifestyle-induced disease and was avoidable. But the good thing is he is a changed person now and has taken control of his life. People must realise that with lifestyle modification, one can get back to near normal even after suffering a heart attack,” said Dr Ashok Seth, chairman of Cardiac Sciences at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute.

Both Chawla and Bisht are examples for people who took their examples of the attack as a turning point in their life and have changed their life for better.

“I have realised there is no point in taking stress, so I don’t get stressed on little things now,” says Chawla.

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