Doctor alarms citizens about heart diseases in youngsters

Mumbai: There is a marked rise in heart attack cases being handled at the emergency ward of the privately run Wockhardt Hospital at Mumbai Central, one of the island city’s main hospitals, since November. At least 15 such cases were handled by the hospital in the past two months with many of the patients being young adults aged as low as 25.

One such patient was Abhijeet Kadam, 28, who was diagnosed with a heart attack at the Wockhardt emergency ward. Mr Kadam had complained of chest pain radiating to the left hand and been under stress for three or four days. A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, refers to a blockage or blood clot being formed within the arteries supplying the heart, impeding the flow of blood to the organ.

Stress, heavy workouts sedentary lifestyle are underlying reasons of heart attacks

Dr Ravi Gupta, consultant cardiologist at Wockhardt, said many young people are getting such attacks that often go unnoticed. The underlying reasons are many and include diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle, air pollution, stress, heavy workouts and use of steroids.

“Indians are genetically prone to heart attacks,” Dr Gupta said. “On top of that, the adoption of a Western lifestyle leads to further mutation in the defective gene and makes Indians more susceptible. Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, many young people died of heart attacks as Covid not only affects the lungs but causes inflammation as well.”

The cardiologist advised that everyone should get their blood pressure and diabetes checked regularly even if they exhibit no symptoms. “When blood sugar or BP is high, you are often unaware,” he explained, “as these two conditions show no prior symptoms. To keep your heart healthy, you must undergo stress test, 2D echo, cholesterol test and ECG.”

Angiography of Abhijeet Kadam showed biggest artery block

When Mr Kadam was brought to the emergency room, an ECG revealed an “anterior wall myocardial infarction”. He was immediately taken for a coronary angiography the same day. The angiography showed the biggest artery was blocked by a clot which was removed and a stent was put in. The patient recovered and was discharged last week.

“Young people do not get heart check-ups done,” said a senior cardiologist at a civic-run hospital. “They start exercising without a check-up, taking up weight training, treadmill workouts and cross training, all of which put pressure on the heart. Some take supplements which damage the heart muscle, leading to arrhythmia.”

Symptoms of an attack

Blockages start developing in the arteries when a person is in her twenties because of increased cholesterol or genetic factors, but they are negligible at the time. When the person faces acute stress or undergoes significant physical exertion without preparation or severe biological stressors such as an infection, the exertion on the heart causes clots to form near the already present blockages, leading to bigger blocks and even an attack.

“While increasing heart disease has been an observable trend over the past decade, the rise in cases last year is more worrying,” the cardiologist added.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper’s PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)