Heart Disease Can Affect the Young & Healthy – What Should You Do?

Dr Ashok Seth tells you why this happens and what you should do to prevent heart disease.

Updated
Heart
3 min read
Heart Disease Can Affect the Young & Healthy – What Should You Do?

Heart attacks and cardiac issues are for old people to worry about, right? Wrong. Today it’s not uncommon to hear about people in their 20s and 30s struggling with their heart health. Even the ones who are seemingly healthy aren’t absolutely safe and can have sudden attacks.

Why does that happen? When should you start worrying? What can you do? We got Dr Ashok Seth, Chairman, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, to answer these questions and to tell us what should be done to prevent heart disease.

Indians are predisposed to cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in India, killing 1.7 million people in 2016, up 53 percent from 2005, according to the Global Burden of Disease Report, released in 2017.

What is of serious concern is the early age of disease onset in the population today. Even when we feel healthy, are particular about our well-being and believe we lead a healthy lifestyle, we don’t know what is happening in the heart.

Over the last 20 years, we have observed heart disease affect, on an average, 10 years younger people. Also, in women, it has grown by 300 percent in the last three decades.
Dr Ashok Seth
Heart Disease Can Affect the Young & Healthy – What Should You Do?
(Photo: iStock)

Heart attack can occur even without a history of cardiac issues. Blockage in arteries can go undetected and may start showing symptoms only when it is at 80-90 percent. Infact 25 percent of people even after having significant and severe blockages do not experience any discomfort.

Therefore, doctors recommend that you get an annual cardiac check up. By the age of 25, one should start getting the basic tests done. If there are risk factors and family history, one should get check ups for cholesterol levels right from the age of 10-15.

Dr Seth says the kind of stressful and sedentary lifestyle we lead is to be blamed. What we eat also contributes to our heart staying healthy. Increasingly, people are eating out often and not taking the proper diet that is required.

Awareness about heart disease should start early on in our lives, right from school children. Blockage of arteries can start as early as the age of six. Eating healthy and regular exercising should become a habit. You shouldn’t start taking care of your heart only when the doctor tells you to. 
Dr Ashok Seth

5 Precautions to Prevent Heart Disease

  1. Understand the risk factors for heart disease that can be avoided like smoking, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and high blood pressure and work towards removing them.
  2. Take regular walks. Exercising doesn’t mean body building and excessive workouts. In fact, body building and the supplements you take with it can be harmful. Exercise for heart health means brisk walking for 45 minutes.
  3. Develop a work-life balance and deal with stress. Take time out of your stressful life to spend time with family, for indulging in your hobbies and relaxation.
  4. Get regular check ups for your cardiac health.
  5. Be proactive rather than reactive. Don’t wait for the disease to strike and only then start taking precautions. Develop healthy habits from an early age.

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