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‘Young Indians have highest prevalence of cardiovascular diseases’

News‘Young Indians have highest prevalence of cardiovascular diseases’

‘These days, young people are more prone to cardiac death due to poor lifestyle choices’.


NEW DELHI: The prevalence rate of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) has increased over the past 25 years in India; however, the reason for such high-risk factors is poorly investigated, as per sources. However, these days, young people are more prone to cardiac death due to poor lifestyle choices, say experts.
“Young people, nowadays, are more prone to heart attacks due to excessive alcohol and smoking, substance abuse, lack of physical activity, diabetes, hypertension early-onset, obesity and poor diet regime with a stressful lifestyle,” Dr Chintan Mehta, Consultant, Cardiovascular and Thoracic surgery, Sterling Hospital, Rajkot, told The Sunday Guardian.
Also, apart from an unhealthy lifestyle, the Indian population is also predisposed to hereditary and undiagnosed congenital heart conditions. Dr K.K. Talwar, the chairman of PSRI Heart Institute, told this paper, “Sudden heart attack may also occur in the young population because of inherited heart muscle diseases or arrhythmic disorders. These disorders usually run in families and often there is a family history of such attacks. The advances in genetics have helped to identify even the genetic abnormalities, family screening is advised in these cases.”
A journal published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information titled “Incidence of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in an Indian Urban Cohort,” states the rise of CVD in India from 2.26 million in 1990 to 4.77 million in 2020. Coronary heart disease prevalence rates in India have fluctuated from 1.6% to 7.4% in rural populations and from 1% to 13.2% in urban populations over the last several decades.
“Men are at more risk of cardiac deaths due to genetics and hormonal factors; females are protected with estrogen hormone in a premenopausal stage. However, we are seeing increasing episodes of cardiac deaths in young females due to changing lifestyles, stress and smoking,” Dr Lal Daga, the senior interventional cardiologist, Apollo Hospitals, Ahmedabad. He also said that environmental pollutants are also a significant cause of a number of cardiac deaths.
However, apart from unhealthy lifestyles, many doctors who administer the cardiac screening programme, have witnessed that young footballers have been dying from heart problems at a higher rate. As per some sources, one out of 80,000 young athletes is prone to sudden cardiac deaths each year. “In young athletes, the sudden death episode is usually related to underlying inherited heart muscle disease like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and arrhythmic disorders,” Dr Talwar told this paper.
Similarly, Dr Mohan Nair, Asian Hospital, Faridabad, spoke of Athletic Heart Syndrome which is a non-pathological condition in which the human heart is enlarged and the resting heart rate is lower than usual. “The heart muscles undergo a change and that is itself one of the causes of sudden cardiac arrest so high-calorie energy drinks are banned,” he told this paper.
Taking the example of the singer KK, he said, “When the autopsy was done, the doctors found that there were blockages in his arteries; it is important that the people must be highly aware of sudden cardiac arrests. Lifestyle changes determine the control of blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and so on. A study suggests that Indians have a higher rate of heart attacks so we need to be careful. Prevention is better than cure. There may be cases where we do not have a chance to cure,” he advised.
“It is critical to maintain an active lifestyle in order to prevent heart attacks. Obese people are at a higher risk of having a heart attack. Hence, maintaining a healthy weight is essential. Consuming nutritious meals, and vitamin and mineral-enriched diets are important along with quitting smoking and drinking. Also, for young athletes it is important to establish good resuscitation protocols and to increase the availability of automated external defibrillators in locations where sports are practised,” Dr Amit Bhushan, the Director of Cardiology Department, Paras Hospital Gurugram, said.

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