New Delhi: Heart disease is no longer restricted to the middle-aged and the old. Long working hours at the desk, little physical exercise and unhealthy eating habits are also taking a toll on working professionals in their late twenties and early thirties, experts say.
According to the India Today-Saffolalife Study conducted on 46,000 urban Indians, 78 percent of those aged between 30 and 34 run the risk of a heart attack, Kanchan Naikawadi, Director, Indus Health Plus (P) Ltd. said.
In last few months, 30-year-old TV actor Abir Goswami and 20-plus Kannada actor Hemanth died of a heart attack.
There is no specific profession that leads to a higher number of heart diseases, but professionals who tend to sit for most of the time are more likely to suffer from such diseases, informs Naikawadi.
"Those from the IT and BPO sector fall under this category. With most of the work happening from desk and minimal physical activity being involved, the chances of risk in such professions are higher," Naikawadi told IANS.
Ravindra L. Kulkarni, cardiologist and co-founder of Just For Hearts, too felt that although every profession contributes to stress, employees of IT companies are more stressed out owing to long working hours, graveyard shifts and unhealthy eating habits.
There are other unhealthy lifestyle practices that cause early heart attacks.
"I have observed that smoking is the biggest risk factor for heart attacks among youngsters. No physical exercise and alcohol intake further increase the risk. High cholesterol levels, diabetes and hypertension are also some of the factors," Amar Singhal, head of department, interventional cardiologist, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, told IANS.
Heart disease, which was earlier associated with older men, is also becoming common among women.
Kulkarni said that till women reach menopause, they are protected against it. But, it has been found that across the globe approximately 8.6 million women die every year due to heart attacks. He attributed it to changes in lifestyle.
To prevent a heart attack, certain physical signs should not be ignored.
If you are suddenly running out of breath and there is no one around you to lend a helping hand, panic. Try to calm down. Sit wherever you are and take deep breaths, said Naikawadi and gave more tips to avoid a larger problem.
"If you are wearing any tight clothes, loosen them. Get your hands on an asprin tablet and make sure that you chew it well. It will work faster," she said.
"Make sure that you are not surrounded by a crowd that adds to the feeling of being restless. Drink something refreshing and if you are outside, look for a place with shade. If you feel it could be a heart attack, call for emergency medical help," Naikawadi added.
Naikawadi informed that according to a WHO report, four people die of heart attack every minute in India and the age group is mainly between 30-50 years.
A sudden heart attack is not uncommon, so it is advisable to check your family history and consult doctors. Under the scenario, regular checkups are must for everyone.
"However, the only way to find out about any such condition is to go for regular preventive health checkups starting early in life, especially individuals with a family history and high risk factors like obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes," Naikawadi advised.
A heart attack happens when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart gets blocked. In such cases angioplasty, which costs around Rs.2 lakh, could be the ideal remedy.
"Emergency angiogram is done and the blockage causing the heart attack is diagnosed. The blockage is removed and a stent is placed across the area," explained Karthik Vasudevan, Interventional cardiologist at Bangalore`s Columbia Asia Referral Hospital.
To keep your heart strong after an attack, Singhal suggested strictly following a healthy diet and, regularly exercising without exerting and regular checkups.
Last but not least, do not ignore any chest pain.