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Heart attacks becoming common in people below 40, say doctors in Chandigarh

Among younger patients, men are more likely to suffer from heart ailments compared to women, possibly because of “hormonal protection,” which significantly reduces atherosclerosis among women.

punjab Updated: Sep 30, 2018 10:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Heart attacks,world heart day,Chandigarh
Stress and unhealthy habits are taking their toll on younger people(istock)

It’s alarming, but doctors in the city say they’ve been receiving an increasing number of patients below the age of 40 who’ve had heart attacks. Stress and unhealthy habits are taking their toll on younger people, they add, ahead of World Heart Day on September 29.

“It’s not just the elderly but the young too aged less than 40 and pre-menopausal women who suffer heart attacks,” says Dr Rajesh Vijayvergiya, cardiologist from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research.

About 10 to15 patients aged below 40 are treated by him every week, Vijayvergia adds.

While heart attacks among white races below the age of 40 are very rare, nearly 25% of people suffering heart attacks in India fall in that age category, says Dr RK Jaswal, director, cardiology, Fortis Hospital, Mohali.

“On an average, I perform 50 to 60 angioplasty procedures (to widen narrowed or blocked arteries or veins by a ballooning method) on heart attack patients per month and 25% of them are below 40. The common risk factors are family history, stress, diabetes and smoking,” says Jaswal

Among younger patients, men are more likely to suffer from heart ailments compared to women, possibly because of “hormonal protection,” which significantly reduces atherosclerosis among women.

Heart ailments are caused by unhealthy dietary habits, lack of regular physical activity and exercise, higher consumption of tobacco products and stress, especially those in the younger age groups.

Metabolic syndrome, a bunch of conditions such as increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels together leads to heart disease. It’s usually caused by central obesity, lack of exercise, and excess intake of calories.

“The theme for World Heart Day is: My heart, your heart. It puts the onus on all for protecting not only their heart but also the hearts of all their loved ones from this rapidly spreading epidemic,” Vijayvergiya adds.

Things to do for a healthy heart

1. Maintain healthy dietary habits. Increase intake of vegetables (>200gm), fruits (>200gm), cereals and fibre (> 20gm/d) in daily diet. Salt intake should be < 5 g/d. Food with high saturated fat and trans-fat contents should be avoided.

2. Alcohol in any form or amount is harmful to the heart, hence should be avoided. One must stop smoking and chewing tobacco.

3. All healthy adults should exercise for 30 to 45 minutes every day, for at least five days a week. Maintain a body mass index (BMI, a measure of body fat based on a person’s weight in relation to his or her height) of <25 Kg/m2.

4. Blood pressure should not exceed <140/90 mmHg and fasting blood sugar should be <110 mg%.

5. Stress can be modified by yoga, exercise, changing the work place environment, and counselling.

6. Drugs like aspirin and statins should not be taken without a physician’s advice

First Published: Sep 29, 2018 10:10 IST