Why are young Indians more prone to Heart Diseases?

An increasing prevalence of Heart Diseases is now found in young Indians. Why is the youth now more vulnerable than ever to heart attacks? According to the Indian Heart Association, when heart disease strikes Indians, it tends to do so at an earlier age (almost 33 per cent earlier) than other demographics, often without prior warning.

Dhani’s Senior Strategist, Prakhar Khandelwal spoke to Dr. Amit Rathod about this alarming situation. Dr. Amit is an MBBS, PGCIH, MBA, and has also done his Advance Cardiac Life Support and Basic Life Support certifications from American Heart Association, USA. He also has a Fellowship in Clinical Cardiology and Diploma and Fellowship in Diabetology. He has more than 10 years of experience in Cardiology and Diabetes Care.

PK: We hear a lot of cases of heart attacks on the rise in young people. Could you share your thoughts on this?

Doc: Thanks you for bringing this topic for discussion. Indeed we are seeing an increase in the cases of cardiovascular disease or disease of the heart and blood vessels in younger age groups than before and sadly in some cases, incidents have proved fatal. Cardiovascular disease has been a leading cause of mortality in India and what is more worrying is that it affects people atleast a decade earlier than people in middle and high income countries. For example, in Western populations only 23% of CVD deaths occur before the age of 70 years; in India, this number is 52%.

PK: Could you tell us the causes for this rise and who is at risk?

Doc: There are many factors that play an important role in this but the key ones are obesity and high cholesterol levels, raised blood pressure levels and smoking. In young people these parameters are on the rise due to unhealthy diet and poor lifestyle choices. Coupled with stress and lack of rest which are very important, the risk of cardiovascular disease goes up. People who have family history of heart disease and who have any of these risk factors in their lifestyle should be careful.

PK: We also hear a lot about young people who are apparently fit, exercise well and yet have sudden heart attacks. Could you tell us about this?

Doc: Sure. There is a difference between exercising well and over-exercising. We see many cases where cardiac events were precipitated immediately after very heavy exercise in someone who has pre-disposing factors. This can lead to rupture of a plaque causing a clot in the blood vessels. Stress and very heavy exercise can cause these events. Pressure to achieve a certain look drives people to take up certain medications and to over exercise which can have negative consequences for heart health.

PK: What are the precautions or preventive measures that one should take to avoid this?

Doc: It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a good diet, regular exercise (moderate exercise is fine) and proper rest. If one has a family history of heart disease, diabetes or high cholesterol in the family, it is important to get regular check-ups done from the age of 30 onwards. This could be earlier in some cases if needed. The health check-up should include a check of all vital parameters including blood pressure and one blood glucose levels and cholesterol levels.

PK: Is there anything else you would like to share with our viewers and listeners? 

Doc: Thank you for listening. If you have any more questions / queries, do get in touch with a doctor on the Dhani app. On Dhani app, you can get connected to a doctor over a video call in just 10 seconds. 200+ Doctors are available 24×7 to assure your well-being. If you still haven’t, download the Dhani app today and get unlimited free consultations for 30 days

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