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Rising burden of heart disease in Indian youth-World Heart Day Special

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In the last three decades, the country has witnessed an alarming rise in heart disease, particularly among the young & productive age groups almost amounting to about 30% of the total deaths in India.

The exponential increase of cardiac disease in Indian youth is an outcome of rapid urbanization, industrialization uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension, obesity, stress, sedentary lifestyle, environmental pollution and drastic change in food habits. As per the report of a study conducted in 2016, the estimated prevalence of CVDs (Coronary Vascular Disease) in India was estimated to be 54.5 million (2016). One in 4 deaths in India is now because of CVDs with ischemic heart disease and stroke responsible for >80% of this burden.

The frequency of coronary heart disease in young Indians is 15-18% higher than in any other population group globally and also includes Indians residing outside India. Heart attacks in young Indians are 3-4 times higher. The annual number of deaths from CVD in India increased from 2.26 million (1990) to 4.77 million (2020). Coronary heart disease prevalence rates in India have been estimated over the past several decades and have ranged from 1.6% to 7.4% in rural populations and from 1% to 13.2% in urban populations.

Sitting in a single place for 4-5 hours is as good as smoking a few cigarettes a day in terms of the risk factors which is magnified by the current trend of “Work from Home “culture in this post-Covid Era, opines Dr. Sanjay Porwal, Sr. Interventional Cardiologist at KLES Dr. Prabhakar Kore Hospital.

“Increasing workloads, monotony, poor family bonding, uncertain future, loss of job, and lack of hobbies or recreation/poor socialization are causing distress among youth. Recent studies show that women are equally prone to heart disease which was once considered rare.  Heart attack was considered “old man’s disease” – is increasingly occurring in younger people, especially women, according to new research.

dr sanjay-porwal
Dr. Sanjay Porwal

Why does a heart attack happen at a young age?
Dr. Sanjay Porwal: Substance abuse or excessive alcohol use, sedentary lifestyle, Tech addiction, Smoking, High blood pressure, western food habits, and obesity are the main risk factors.

How common is heart disease in young adults?
Dr. Sanjay Porwal: Data show that young adults who have diabetes, Hypertension & post-Covid status are more likely to have heart disease and have repeat events than heart attack survivors without diabetes.

Can I develop heart disease in my 20s?
Dr. Sanjay Porwal: Heart attacks can happen at any age irrespective of gender.

How can I strengthen my heart?
Dr. Sanjay Porwal: I recommend, brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling, playing tennis, and skipping. Healthy food habits, and a positive attitude are also essential. I also caution you, to take the advice of your physician before starting an exercise regimen

What are the symptoms of a heart attack?
Dr. Sanjay Porwal: Chest pain, or a feeling of pressure or squeezing in the center of the chest or backside. This discomfort may last several minutes: It may also come and go. Pain may be experienced in the throat. Symptoms may be confused with indigestion or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Radiating pain in the left hand, profuse sweating and giddiness are a few of the symptoms. One must immediately shift the patient with these symptoms to the hospital.

Dr. Sanjay Porwal suggested the following Preventive strategies;
• Keep your sugar levels under control
• Keep a close watch on your Blood Pressure
• Check out lipids.
• Say a big NO to junk food. Avoid deep-fried, spicy food. Home-cooked food is best
• Stop smoking
• Reduce salt & sugar intake.
• Considerably reduce alcohol consumption.
• Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Walking, Yoga, meditation, cycling, swimming & aerobics are good.
• If you have a family history of heart disease regularly visit your doctor and follow his/her advice.

Prof. Dr. Sanjay Porwal, MD, DNB(card), FESC, FSCAI, FACC – Sr Interventional Cardiologist
Professor of Cardiology, KLE University, Belagavi, Karnataka India 590001
Ph:-+919449800639. [email protected]

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