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Life After Heart Attack at 26: There’s Hope in the Aftermath

The recovery is not just physical. Depression, anxiety are other things survivors might need to wrestle with.

Updated
Health News
3 min read

Video Editor: Vivek Gupta

Heart attack are thought to be an 'old-age' problem. But it is turning into a silent epidemic among the young.

The recovery is not just physical. Depression, fear and anxiety are other things survivors might need to wrestle with.

Tarun (name changed) never thought he would be a heart attack survivor at 26.

A fun-loving person, Tarun enjoys hanging out with friends and plays basketball.

He recently celebrated his 29th birthday and recalls how far he has come since the incident.

"It was in 2018, three years back at a friend's party. We were playing cards. It was a normal Diwali party. I came back home. My back was hurting," Tarun says.

The pain started shifting to the chest. I waited for 2.5 hours. I thought I had acidity, and consumed Eno and antacids. But the pain wasn't going away. I walked to the nearby hospital and thought they would give me a strong antacid to relieve to pain. They checked my ECG and said it was a heart attack.
Young Heart Attack Survivor

Tarun was shifted to a different hospital where he was admitted for three days.

"It was very traumatic. I threw the sheets and curtains around my bed and started crying. I was eventually shifted to a CICU. I was there for two nights and was then discharged," he says.

The doctors suggested a stent to be placed, but Tarun's parents were not keen. They consulted another doctor who said that stent wasn't necessary since the blockage could be managed with medication.

Heart attack survivors face a host of challenges post the incident. Some many need to drastic lifestyle changes which are the hardest to conquer.

"I think my parents were crushed, but they never showed it to me. It must've been difficult for them too. They didn't allow me to step out of the house the next few days. I was tired. It was traumatic," he says.

"I started going out after a few days again. I consumed homemade meals the next few months. I didn't go out much with friends. This is how my life changed initially. As time passed, things got normal," he adds.

Smoking, diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption and sedentary lifestyle – all of these can increase the risk of heart diseases.

"I quit smoking, switched to healthier food options. I did that for a year and a half. But things are normal now," Tarun says.

Tarun also suffered anxiety post the incident.

"What happens is, you become scared about things...The doctor recommended PTSD sessions with the psychologist. Then things got better," he says.

He credits his family members and friends who has his back throughout his recovery. The relation and bond with them has only become stronger, he says.

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For most patients, a heart attack is also a wake-up call to not take things for granted and live life to the fullest.

"The incident has changed me. I enjoy more. I spend more time with family and friends. I try different activities. I try to take a trip every two months. These are the small changes I've made," Tarun says.

"It's always tough for the person who has faced it to cope. We go through a lot. So, it's better if you don't smoke. The choices which I have made, those are my choices. I don't have any regret. Things happened to me, but it's okay."

A heart attack is a devastating life event, but there is hope in the aftermath.

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