The words 'Heart Attack' can send a nervous shiver down everyone's spine. This, unfortunately, common condition is defined as the 'blockage of blood flow to the heart muscle.' Its causes include excess smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc. Not only that, but lack of physical activity also leads to severe cardiac problems that can prove fatal in the future.
According to Mayo Clinic, men and women who are 45 or 55 years or older are prone to having a heart attack. While some causes may be hereditary in nature, some are attributed to them leading a predominantly sedentary lifestyle.
However, recent times have seen a rise in young people suffering from serious heart conditions. The deaths of actors Siddharth Shukla and Puneeth Rajkumar in their 40s started a discussion about this problem as well. Many wondered the cause behind it, as both of them were known for their rigorous fitness regime that they followed religiously.
'Indians Have Heart Attack A Decade Earlier Than Europeans'
This development may shock many of us, but the health experts had an idea about it. Dr. Rajiv Aggarwal, a cardiologist working at Meerut's Jaswant Rai Super Speciality Hospital, stated that this is extremely common. "This is a very well-documented issue that South Asians, especially Indians, have heart attacks decade or a decade and a half earlier than the Europeans, as their genetic constitution makes them more prone to such attacks. We fall in the higher risk category. I treat heart attacks of people coming between 30 to 40 years of age every year. This fact comes as a surprise to the public, not to the medical fraternity," he told The Logical Indian.
A cardiologist from BLK-Max Hospital in New Delhi named Dr Subhash Chandra elucidates this point by citing reasons. "Most of the time, this has to do with smoking. Largely, the young people having a heart attack is due to tobacco misuse, that is either consuming 'zarda' or smoking. Excessive usage of protein supplements while working out and doing more than your endurance, like sprinting, can trigger arrhythmia," he explained.
Due to COVID-19, most of our work has now been confined to a chair and a screen in front of it. A majority of us have to be in front of our laptops for over 6 hours in order to make ends. This kind of lifestyle is harmful in the long run as well. "Like diabetes and smoking, sedentary habit, sitting 6 hours a day is as bad as smoking one pack of cigarette. Coronavirus has made us more digital, which results in our physical inactivity which adds to our risk factor in terms of heart, sugar and blood pressure," Dr Aggarwal adds. Another factor both the cardiologists also mentioned was stress and mental health as well, which ends up wreaking havoc on us.
Preventive Care, Physical Activity, No Smoking
Physical Activity is important not just to keep ourselves hail and hearty, but for our mental health as well. However, all of this should be done in moderation and with caution. Dr Chandra states, "Moderation is the key. One should not overdo their exercise. Avoid taking supplements and energy boosters because they all have a detrimental effect on our hearts. Sometimes, those who have recovered from COVID-19 become over-enthusiastic as well. Therefore, they should go through a gradual process before going into an intense workout session." Further, he talks about how weight control is important, along with eating food with anti-oxidants as well as lean meat such as fish and chicken.
While taking care of ourselves is one aspect, yearly health check-ups are also important. However, Dr. Aggarwal points out at the public's mindset when it comes to preventive care. "We do not have a culture of preventive check-up in the country. Doctors come into the picture when you fall sick, not when you are healthy. That is the paradox. No health insurance gives you money for a preventive checkup. Companies should make a provision for those who are healthy as well. Our healthcare infrastructure and the society's mindset is treatment-centric, not focus on prevention," he explains towards the end.
Also Read: 40 Crore Indians Devoid Of Financial Cover For Healthcare: NITI Aayog Report