A Heart-to-Heart with Your Heart
New Delhi: From a vulnerable newborn to a frail elderly, every age is defenseless when it comes to heart. An alarming revelation suggests that when it comes to heart disease, twenty can be the new forty. Doctors once used to recommend a comprehensive health check up for forty-somethings to catch early signs of wear and tear. Now they’re recommending them for children as young as 10. So before you say, "I don`t have to worry about that until I`m 50," consider this: Studies show that heart trouble including clogged arteries and high cholesterol can start as early as childhood. Pediatric heart care in India is still in its infancy. If the heart and blood vessels don`t pump properly, you can get sick and have several heart diseases like Congenital Heart Disease, Acquired Heart Disease, Arrhythmia and Heart Murmurs, which can be a symptom of larger problems. The Indian stats foretell that the burden of congenital heart disease in the country is likely to be enormous, due to very high birth rate.
The incidence of heart disease is growing among teenagers and young adults. A new Australian study reveals that almost one in three 14-year-olds are potentially at increased risk of heart disease. It should serve as a wake-up call to health authorities. Not just this, the findings of a study conducted by the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital, Minneapolis, leads to the conclusion that the risk of heart disease in a male increases by the time he is 19 years old.
Age group ranging between 20 and 50 is considered as the most crucial age for a heart care. “As we graduate from our 20s towards late forties, the estrogen levels start declining which in turn can raise our risk of heart disease, because this hormone helps maintain the elasticity of arteries and guards against hardening. We are also more likely to develop visceral fat around the abdominal region, which has been linked to low HDL, high blood sugar, and elevated triglycerides, all of which are considered bad and increase our chances of having a heart attack,” says Dr Praveer Agarwal, Interventional Cardiologist, Escorts Heart & Research Centre.
Coronary heart disease is the leading killer in older age group, and half of all heart attack victims are over 65. While men have markedly higher rates of coronary heart disease in middle age than women, the latter’s rates of coronary disease begin to rise sharply after menopause; ultimately their rates are about equal to those of men.
“The increased range and effectiveness of non-invasive cardiac testing has been a boon to elderly patients. Echocardiography, in which sound waves are bounced off the heart`s internal structures, has great value in confirming valve disease and other malfunctions.” says Dr DS Gambhir, Interventional Cardiologist, Kailash Hospital.
First Published: Tuesday, January 19, 2010, 00:00
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