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Risk of Heart Diseases in Youngsters

How a lifestyle change is making youngsters vulnerable to heart attacks?

When Arun complained of chest pain and vomited food at the New Year party his colleagues responded quickly and took him to the nearest hospital for consultation. Arun’s colleagues were shocked to know that their friend had a mild heart attack. Today, the belief that only those above 50 years experience heart attacks is increasingly under question, as it is being proved that heart attacks in the early 20s or 30s are not rare anymore. A strong message for each youngster is that, being young does not guarantee a healthy heart.

The fast pace of life, unbearable stress and pressure due to increasing academic and professional expectations, odd work timings, lack of sleep, and growing appetite for fast food have brought ruin to youngsters’ health, and made them confront the risk of heart diseases. Added, if the youngster has the habit of smoking and drinking the risk of heart diseases is greatly compounded. Genetic factors are also considered to cause cardiovascular diseases in youngsters.

Youngsters and Heart Attacks

As a youngster you can protect yourself from the risk of heart diseases by following a healthy lifestyle. This means that, you should follow a lifestyle that includes healthy diet, daily exercise, avoiding smoking and drinking and avoiding erratic work shifts. However, it is found that vegans are equally at the risk of heart conditions, as they do not get vitamin B12 which is primarily found in animal products.

STATS & FACTS

According to a study, 5 million Indians are already suffering from heart diseases. This condition is due to increased consumption of spicy foods, high oil and salt content in the food, lack of exercise and low intake of fresh fruits and fiber. According to Public Health Foundation, oil intake in urban households has increased by 50 percent. In 12 years, fat intake has increased from 42 grams a day to 52 grams.

The severity of the situation can be gauged from the data provided by the American Heart Association, if US reported 5.6 percent heart attacks, India recorded 12 percent. According to World Health Organization (WHO) report, cardiovascular diseases would be the largest cause of death and disability in Indian by 2020.

WHAT SHOULD YOUNGSTERS DO?

You can prevent heart diseases in general and heart attacks in particular by making smart lifestyle choices.

  • You can choose a healthy eating plan which includes fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, fish, nuts, legumes and seeds. You can also take low-fat dairy products and poultry (skinless) with limit.
  • Your sedentary lifestyle that is perpetuated by sitting for long hours at the desk or in front of the TV has to be stopped. Instead, you should inculcate a physically active regime that includes, walking, jogging, running, cycling, aerobics etc.
  • You should practice muscle strengthening activities like stretching and bending of legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest shoulders and arms.
  • You should spend less time in you couch and more time in walking around, walking the dog and exploring nearby places on foot or cycle.
  • By avoiding drinking, smoking/second-hand smoking and tobacco products you can reduce the risk of heart attack.
  • An understanding of the history of heart diseases in the family would definitely make you to follow a healthy lifestyle.
  • By learning and practicing stress management techniques, you can protect yourself from sudden increase in heart rate and blood pressure.