Heart Attacks in Young People on the Rise: Is Covid-19 to Blame?
Heart attacks used to be considered a disease of the elderly, but this is no longer the case. Increasingly, younger people are being hospitalized for heart attacks with no clear underlying cause. In particular, Covid-19 is emerging as a risk factor for heart attacks, as research suggests. In this article, we examine the latest studies and expert opinions on this alarming trend and offer tips on how to reduce your risk.
Covid-19 and Heart Attacks: What Does the Latest Research Show?
According to a 2022 study by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, deaths from heart attack across all age groups have become more common in the US after Covid-19. Specifically, people between 25 and 44 have seen a 29.9% increase in heart attack deaths over the first two years of the pandemic. This is worrying news, not just for Americans, but for people worldwide.
Closer home, doctors in India have also made a similar observation. Dr Moshin Wali, a cardiologist and senior consultant at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, says, “After Covid-19, there has been a 20% increase in the number of younger people suffering from heart attacks. This is because of Covid-resultant clotting.” Adding to this, Dr. Gajinder Kumar Goyal, director of cardiology, Marengo Asia Hospitals, shares, “Covid-19 has shown to increase plaque rupture in coronary arteries and cause damage to heart muscles.” Pandemic-induced work-from-home stress, sedentary lifestyles and obesity are also contributing factors.
Why Are Young Indians at a Higher Risk of Heart Attacks?
Heart attacks among Indians can occur at least a decade before their Western counterparts. Experts say earlier, the average age group of patients used to be between 55 and 65. “But now, patients in their 20s and 30s are suffering from myocardial infarction,” says Dr Vishal Rastogi, director, interventional cardiology and head, advanced heart failure program, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute.
One reason for this is the genetic predisposition of Indians to heart disease. Moreover, unhealthy lifestyles, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, smoking, and now Covid-19 are some known culprits. However, the worrying trend of younger people suffering from heart attacks with no clear underlying cause is still not fully understood.
What Are the Symptoms of Heart Attacks, and How Can They Be Prevented?
Heart attack in a young person can often be misunderstood as acidity or muscle pain. This is worrying, says Dr Rastogi, as heart attacks can be even more catastrophic in the young because their heart is unprepared for this sudden block, and no natural collateral channels exist.
“Warning signs such as central chest pain or heaviness, pain in jaw, left arm or upper abdomen and cold sweats must not be ignored,” says Dr Rastogi. One should also assess underlying factors like diabetes or high BP that can trigger a heart attack upon excessive exercising. Before starting an exercise routine, people should get their heart checked to understand if they can withstand heavy exercise.
A diet low in carbohydrates and fat and rich in fibres and minerals is recommended. “Heart-friendly diet includes complex carbohydrates with four-to-five servings of fruits, shallow cooked vegetables and reduction in the intake of processed and frozen foods. One should reduce alcohol and tobacco consumption in any form,” says Dr Gera.
Finally, experts suggest practising yoga breathing exercises and select asanas such as Tadasana, relaxations methods such as Savasana, to keep the heart healthy. Those who have underlying heart conditions must, however, avoid jerky movements and certain asanas.
While heart disease is a complex condition with many contributing factors, Covid-19 is emerging as a risk factor for heart attacks, particularly in younger people. As such, it is vital to be aware of the symptoms of a heart attack, assess risk factors such as diet, and get regular check-ups. By taking the necessary precautions, you can reduce the risk of becoming another statistic of this alarming trend.#making #young #hearts #weak #Health