An increasing number of youngsters in their 20s and 30s are suffering from heart disease. News about young people, otherwise healthy, suddenly succumbing to a massive heart attack, is now heard more often than before. These deaths make headlines, especially when the victim is a celebrity of some kind. There is disbelief, shock, and then a spate of a sudden increase in young and healthy individuals visiting clinics for a complete health check-up.
This is what Dr Kaushal Chhatrapati, Sr. Interventional Cardiologist, FACC FSCAI FESC, has been observing of late.
Dr Chhatrapati, "Of course, there is some rare Genetic and structural heart disease like Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Brugada's Disease, Long QT syndromes, and Coronary Artery anomalies which are responsible for a proportion of these deaths. These are of course very rare, but most cases of sudden death in young adults are preventable."
Factors contributing to "young heart attack" pandemic"
According to Dr Chhatrapati, Indians are genetically cursed with a higher lifetime likelihood of suffering from heart disease, than westerners. With the adoption of Western lifestyles and diets, this risk has snowballed exponentially.
The cardiologist continues, "College students today are merrily drinking 700 calorie Frappuccinos at coffee parlors, following it up with a 600-calorie burger. Teenage and young diabetes has become frighteningly common, and India has well and properly cemented its place as the "Diabetes Capital" of the world. "Hukka Parlors", providing exotic flavors of tobacco are a rage in the young hippy crowd. Amongst teenage college girls, smoking is not merely a "feminist statement", but a "weight control hack."(Smoking kills the appetite and in an unhealthy way reduces weight). Tobacco is easily the most important contributor to the "young heart attack" pandemic."
"OTT platforms have made couch potatoes of teenagers, and outdoor games have been replaced by gaming consoles. Even "gymming" is practiced in a most unhealthy manner. Hormone-rich protein shakes punctuate every workout and anabolic steroids are abused to get the buff "pumped up" look. All these are extremely toxic and cause Hypertension, Diabetes, Stroke, And Heart Attack," he adds.
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Steps to avoid heart attack after 30 years
Dr Chhatrapati advises youngsters to adopt these 7 habits for the healthy heart:
Have healthy habits. Do not use tobacco, or abuse alcohol, or drugs.
Do a complete heart health check-up including an ECG,2 D Echo, and Stress Test
Measure Glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and Lipid Profile, along with other parameters every year. Treat if high.
Get your BP measured periodically. Do not delay treatment if BP is high.
Maintain Ideal body weight. Eat healthily.
Practice an active lifestyle, with a moderate exercise regime built into your day.
Practice Meditation and avoid stress. Ensure 7-9 hours of sleep daily.
"Youngsters today are India's "Demographic Dividend". India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. The health of our future generation is paramount if India is to rise to become a world-dominating economic superpower. It's high time our Gen Z generation realizes the power of our time-tested traditions and doesn't succumb to the temptations of decadent lifestyles imported blindly from the west," says Dr Chhatrapati.
It's time we trade Burgers for bajra ki roti, and donut for the dosa!