Did you know Saif Ali Khan, stand-up comedian Sunil Grover, and director-choreographer Remo D’souza are heart attack survivors? But, a series of sudden deaths from singer KK and Sidharth Shukla to Kannada actor Puneeth Rajkumar came as a complete shock. Yes, sudden cardiac arrest can result in untimely demise if not attended to within the first 6 minutes. A recent study says the age bracket of people susceptible to heart attacks has fallen typically from 50-65 to 20-40. Startling!! But why are people under the age of 40 at risk? Let’s find out
What is a heart attack and why is it caused?
A normal resting heart beats around 60 to 100 times per minute. Excess fat or cholesterol buildup in the heart arteries will reduce or block the blood flow, resulting in cardiac arrest. Symptoms include cold sweat, chest pain or discomfort, sudden dizziness, shortness of breath and shooting pain in the neck, back or arm.
Why are more young people getting cardiac arrest?
1. COVID-19 impact on blood vessels
Although COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, it can harm your heart. Fluid buildup in the lungs turns your blood oxygen deficit. The virus infects the heart arteries and veins, causes inflammation and results in decreased blood flow to your heart. In some patients, the coronavirus causes cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscles. All these make your heart work harder to pump blood throughout the body. The result, a heart attack.
2. Stress and anxiety
According to recent research, feeling stressed round the clock can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke multifold. Under stress, our body secretes cortisol. Increased levels of this hormone can make your blood cholesterol and pressure skyrocket. Plaque builds up in arteries and reduces blood flow to heart muscles.
3. Genetic transmission
According to the CDC, genetic factors play an important role in the transmission of heart diseases. A child inherits the gene from the father’s side rather than from the mother’s. Due to unhealthy lifestyle choices, the current younger generation develops the possibility of cardiac arrest 4 to 10 years in advance compared to their parents. With genes being the reason, there is nothing you can do to prevent but mitigate the effect.
4. Type 2 Diabetes
Unhealthy eating, sedentary lifestyle, obesity & belly fat, smoking, and irregular sleeping patterns; do these ring a bell? High blood glucose levels damage your blood vessels and nerves, causing silent heart attacks. The symptoms could be mild or nothing at all, making you brush it aside as a common discomfort. As with a silent heart attack, the damages done are silent too. However, the scar it creates will affect the way your heart functions.
5. Lack of routine heart health checkups
Exercise is good for health. But intense workouts like dumbbell bench presses, deadlifts, or bent-over rows and health supplements put extreme stress on your cardiovascular system. Eventually, it remodels your heart, thickens its walls and permanently scars it. According to the NCBI, high-intensity exercises can increase the threat of heart attacks or failure in people with underlying heart diseases. In such cases, pre-cardiac checkups and comprehensive screening become crucial.
Cardiac arrest can happen at any stage of life, but its prevalence has increased in people below 40 off-late. Maintaining your heart health and preventing a heart attack can be achieved with a change in your sedentary lifestyle and periodic consultations with the best hospitals in Chennai.