Heart health: Youth at a higher risk of heart disease due to smoking and other vices


Deaths caused due to heart disease are usually attributed to the adult population. What is less known is that young adults are not spared of this main cause of death worldwide. The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) conducted a study to find the reasons for youth being susceptible to heart diseases and what are the reasons that put them to this risk.

Around 5,000 young adults from the age of 18-30 years were a part of this study and were monitored for up to 15 years to learn about what resulted into them acquiring heart diseases.

Every man in the 3rd and 4th decade is affected by this disease.

It is noted that the youth who smoke up to 10 cigarettes a day are likely to develop heart diseases by 50 per cent. A rise in cholesterol levels can irk heart rates and the risk increases by 50 per cent; rise in blood pressure levels increase the risk rate to up to 30 per cent.

The increase in heart disease in younger adults are caused due to habits of smoking, stress (work and non-work related), unhealthy diet, lack of sufficient physical activity and excess consumption of salt and packaged food in some cases.

To curb these issues, we need to first understand how to minimise these triggers. Parents should help their child to maintain healthy diet and motivate them to exercise on a regular basis, so that they can control high blood pressure issues, since it is quiet common among who are overweight.

They also need to help them maintain their salt intake. Warn them about the dangers about smoking and the effects nicotine has on the blood vessels, causing the blood vessels to narrow down and make it harder for the blood to flow through the vessels.

If after several repeated efforts of controlling the diet and increasing the child's physical activity it still doesn't lower their blood pressure, a physician should be consulted to seek immediate intervention.

The numbers are not going to decrease unless drastic steps are taken. The problem is that we are leading a very sedentary lifestyle that doesn't allow us much physical activity.

Today's youth is stressed out mentally as well as physically. A major solution to this is drastic lifestyle modification that will help prevent premature heart attacks.

We must learn to thrive on healthy food instead of relying on junk food, this is simple to adopt and very effective. Despite having a busy schedule, try and make time to organise, prioritise and balance your lifestyle.

Take up either yoga or any dance form dance or any other sort of exercise regime that is therapeutic and helps in keeping you physically and mentally healthy.

The author is an Interventional Cardiologist, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan

Source: 'My Medical Mantra'

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