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World Heart Day: Here are the risk factors for heart attack in people under 40

Heart attacks don’t just happen to the elderly, even people under 40 are at risk. Experts, however, say the heart-protective benefits kick-in the moment a person makes healthy choices.

health Updated: Sep 29, 2017 11:13 IST
Rhythma Kaul
Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times
Heart disease,World Heart Day,Heart attack
People under 40 are increasingly landing up at hospital emergency with heart attack symptoms.(Shutterstock)

Heart surgeons are performing open-heart bypass surgeries in children as young as 10 years of age, and the number of youngsters in their 20s and 30s landing up at hospitals with acute angina, pain that comes from the heart, has nearly doubled in the past 10 years.

Evidently, heart disease is no longer limited to your grandparents or parents, and the prevalence of disease in youngsters more often than not is their own doing. Experts say nine in ten heart attacks can be prevented. And it’s never too late to protect your heart from disease as modifying lifestyle has been proven to lower heart attack risk by 35% and death by heart attack by 40% in people between 45 and 64 years.

HT provides a lowdown on the risk factors, prevention and warning signs:

Risk factors

*Smoking or use of other tobacco products

*Lack of physical activity

*High blood pressure

*High blood cholesterol

* Obesity

*Diabetes

*Family history of heart attack

Preventive measures

*Staying fit: exercise at least 2.5 hours a week.

*Body Mass Index (weight in kg/height in m2): keeping the body mass index between 22 and 23.

*Quit tobacco: Smokers have a five times greater risk of heart attack than non-smokers.

*Control blood pressure: less than 120/80 mm Hg.

*Controlling cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dl.

*Diet: Eating high fibre-low fat food; five or more helpings of fruits and vegetables a day.

*Managing stress: chronic persistent stress puts pressure on the heart.

Red flags to watch out for

*Discomfort in arms, shoulders, jaw, neck or upper back

*Shortness of breath

*Tightness or heaviness in chest

*Excessive sweating

*Dizziness

*Indigestion

*Nausea

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First Published: Sep 29, 2017 11:13 IST