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Worrying trend: one in every five heart attack patients is under the age of 40 : Dr Ameet Sattur   

Not long ago, heart attacks were a problem faced by older adults. It was rare for anyone younger than 40 to have a heart attack. Sons or daughters used to get their elderly parents with heart attacks, but now, paradoxically, it is the other way round–we see parents getting their sons or daughters with heart attacks. Now, one in five heart attack patients is younger than 40 years of age. Indians are known to be at high risk of developing heart problems earlier compared to westerners, almost 10–20 years earlier.

Approximately 40% of Indians with heart attacks are less than 40 years of age. Approximately 25% of those dying of heart attacks are less than 40 years of age.

What is a Heart Attack?

A heart attack is a medical emergency condition. It usually occurs when there is an obstruction in blood flow to the heart. As blood also carries oxygen with it, the heart muscles begin to die during a heart attack. But if recognised early and after timely treatment, the cardiologist can minimise the damage to the heart muscles.

What are the common signs and symptoms of a heart attack?

The earliest and most common is chest pain, which can happen with exertion or exercise and can be reduced with rest. Other common symptoms of heart attack are

  • Pressure, tightness, or pain in the chest or arms that spread to the neck, back, or jaw
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, and indigestion-acidity
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dizziness and fall
  • Undue excessive weakness

Reasons for increased heart attacks in the young: earlier and increased presence in younger Indians of the risk factors that increase one’s chances of getting heart problems: Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, triglyceride levels, smoking, tobacco consumption, and obesity.

The most important thing is family history: parents or siblings having heart disease. Because of the pandemic, post-COVID heart issues, clotting disorders, and complications are also making people susceptible to heart diseases.

What can we do to prevent the risk of getting a heart attack?

The single most effective defence against heart disease is lifestyle management. A healthy routine can help us reduce the risk of a heart attack. Some healthy heart habits can be:

*A heart-healthy diet and less consumption of processed foods

*Daily exercise and optimal physical activity

*Reduction in alcohol consumption

*Avoiding consumption of tobacco in any form

*Routine preventive health check-ups: ECG/4D ECHO/TMT-Treadmill test

*Alleviation of stress levels through yoga and other recreational activities

Make yourself aware of the signs and symptoms of heart disease.

Treatment for heart attack

Primary angioplasty in myocardial infarction (PAMI) is the best treatment for heart attack patients.

*The chances of survival are better.

*Expertise and facilities are required to tackle AMI patients.

*Better quality of life for the patients.

Author Dr. Ameet G. Sattur is an interventional cardiologist. He practises at Sattur Heart Care, Pinto Road, Desai Cross, Hubballi. For appointments, contact: 0836-2351323, 2251323/7022611123/7975557272. He is also available at KLE Suchirayu Hospital, Gokul Road, Hubballi.

Vidyadheesha Theertha Swamiji of Palimaru Mutt visits Sattur Heart Care for Check-up

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