Rising Heart Attacks In Youth: Expert Explains The Reason Behind It

Have you noticed that heart attacks are on the rise among the younger population? Read on to learn what the expert has to say about this.

As we navigate the complexities of modern life, there is a disconcerting trend that has captured our attention: a steady rise in heart attacks among the young. The Indian Heart Association (IHA) reports that 50% of heart attacks in Indian men occur before the age of 50, with 25% occurring before the age of 40. We spoke to Dr Mohit Tandon, Consultant Non-Invasive Cardiologist, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Okhla, New Delhi, to understand the reason for the rising heart attacks among the youth.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there has been a 54% increase in the rate of death related to heart attacks in the last 10 years in India. In 2021, 70% of heart attack deaths occurred in the 30-60 year age group.

Dr Tandon said that previously, it was thought that heart attacks were more common in people under the age of 40; however, one out of every five heart attacks now occur in people under this age. Between 2000 and 2016, heart attack rates climbed by 2% per year for persons aged 20-30.

Reasons For Heart Attack In Younger Population

Dr Tandon said that high rates of heart attacks in the young pose an economic burden for society as this is the most productive and functional age group. The primary drivers for increasing heart attacks are as follows:

Increasing Incidence of Diabetes

Dr Tandon informed that India ranks second only to China in the number of diabetic patients. There has been an increasing incidence of young diabetics in India, especially in urban populations. He added that diabetes increases the risk of heart attacks by 2-4 times. In general, diabetes is linked to obesity, hypertension, and abnormal lipid levels, all of which significantly raise the risk of heart attacks.

Overweight and Obesity

According to the World Obesity Federation, by 2030, 10.8% of children aged 5 to 10 years would be obese, while the prevalence rate in adults ranges from 12 to 30%. Dr Tandon said that the majority of Indian obese have central obesity, which is strongly linked to diabetes, hypertension and coronary artery diseases.

Hypertension

Dr Tandon highlighted that the incidence of hypertension in the younger population is also on the rise. Hypertension leads to the thickening of your arteries and increased load on the heart, which in the long term increases the risk of heart attacks. According to a survey by the National Library of Medicine in Kerala, the prevalence of hypertension in those less than 30 years of age was found to be 11.2%.

Also Read: Primary Vs Secondary Hypertension: Doctor Explains The Difference

Smoking and Vaping

Dr Tandon added that smoking cigarettes is one of the major risk factors raising the incidence of heart attacks in young people. The risk is directly related to the number of cigarettes smoked; if you smoke one pack per day, your risk of having a heart attack can be more than double.

Dr Tandon highlighted, “If you believe Vaping to be less dangerous, you may be shocked to learn that vaping can raise the risk of heart attacks by 34%. Nicotine found in e-cigarettes increases blood pressure and heart rate.”

Unhealthy Lifestyle

One of the most overlooked factors contributing to the increasing trend of heart attacks and their risk factors is an unhealthy lifestyle. Stress, insufficient sleep, erratic eating habits consisting of fast and junk foods, a sedentary lifestyle with prolonged sitting (in front of electronic devices), and lack of regular exercise, are all examples of an unhealthy lifestyle. All these increase your risk of developing risk factors like obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes, significantly increasing your risk of having a heart attack at an earlier age.

Substance Abuse

Youngsters engaged in the abuse of drugs like cocaine, LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide), or amphetamines are also at increased risk of heart-related deaths either due to decreased blood supply to the heart or arrhythmias.

Bottomline

Dr Tandon concluded, “These are some of the key factors contributing to an increase in the number of young people dying from heart disease. Making conscious efforts to recognise risk factors, adjust unhealthy behaviours, and seek early professional guidance will help you live a healthy and long life.”

Disclaimer

This article contains information provided by an expert. However, we recommend you consult with your expert if you have risk factors for heart attacks or for a diagnosis based on your body type and medical history.

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