Genetics, stress or something else: Experts reveal the possible causes of heart attacks in young people
The demise of actress and TV host Mandira Bedi’s husband after suffering a heart attack came as a surprise to the film fraternity and fans alike. And now, the subject of heart attacks amongst young people has gained further momentum after Bigg Boss 13 winner and ‘Balika Vadhu’ fame Siddarth Shukla reportedly died after suffering a major heart attack. This comes as a surprise to fans more so because of the actor’s dedication towards following a healthy lifestyle and the fact that he was just 40 years old.
Often heard from experts, a balanced diet and regular fitness routine play a vital role in maintaining heart health. However, with the increasing incidence of heart attacks in young people who are fitness enthusiasts as well, millions are forced to wonder whether it’s just their lifestyle that could impact heart attack risk or are there other factors that could be responsible.
To gather more insights on this, Times Now Digital connected with leading cardiologists across hospitals to understand the causes, risk factors, and preventive techniques that one can follow to avoid heart attack risk.
Sudden cardiac deaths in adults may also have underlying genetic causes such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Lond QT syndrome, coronary artery disease due to genetic biochemical abnormalities, etc. Family history may sometimes suggest pointers regarding the genetic causes. Medical advice should be sought for further genetic investigations. Genetic tests need appropriate interpretation after which further measures are suggested. New tests like polygenic markers to calculate the risk of coronary artery disease have been recently introduced which need to be discussed with the concerned doctor. Early detection and prevention by screening and medical treatments can prevent disastrous outcomes in such cases.
Dr. Ravi Gupta, Consultant Cardiologist, Wockhardt Hospital, on the other hand, blamed the increasing incidence on stress. He also spoke about how diabetes could be a risk factor for the same and which tests are important for timely diagnosis.
“Heart attack risk in the young group of people is a major issue in our country and there are several reasons to blame for it. This group of people has no major symptoms prior to a heart attack and also people with no major risk factors develop sudden heart attack. One of the reasons is the genetic formation of Indian Asians, our genes have a major defect due to which young people in our country are facing heart attack risk. The other reason is diabetes,” said Dr. Gupta.
“Increasing stress is a major cause, and nowadays COVID-19 could trigger thrombosis in the main artery. 30% of people die within 1 hour of the heart attack. Therefore, knowing how CPR works is extremely important for all to save the patient till he or she receives medical assistance. Young people above 30 who have hypertension, diabetes, obesity or family history of the above must go for a routine basic test that is ECG. Even if you do not have any problems, the routine test is a must. A stress test is also extremely important,” he added.
There have been a lot of reports around people who undertake intense workouts daily dying of heart problems. However, COVID has brought these issues to the surface due to the current health awareness drive. It has also brought with it multiple complex heart problems. Multiple factors come into play here like exercising for a shorter duration, diet going haywire due to increased intake of packaged foods, high-stress levels in the pandemic, and anxiety triggered by the social media frenzy.
Stress has been an important aspect that may be looked over by many. However, it can lead to people binge-eating, indulging in alcohol and drug usage. These factors have an indirect impact on the heart. Take good care of your mental health by partaking in yoga, meditation, and other activities that help you de-stress. There is no quantification of how much stress a person has which could lead to heart problems.
Even after COVID, it is important to understand that people are not safe. They need to be evaluated thoroughly if there is any long-COVID haulers syndrome or persistent inflammation, tissue injury, commonly seen in the lungs, heart, or brain. It is important to have a regulated exercise regimen. If individuals indulge in excessive fitness, they can land up in problems. The complexity and intensity need to gradually be increased while monitoring their heart activity as well.
Heart diseases caused by only gene mutations are rare but severe and can cause death, while the awareness to identify these mutations in patients is increasing, we also need to understand that the common heart attacks also called Myocardial infarction/Coronary artery disease which is the leading cause of death in the world including India is also influenced strongly by genes. Millions of gene variants together influence the onset of this disease and even death at a younger age, but it is a strong interplay with lifestyle, diet, and risk factors. It is now possible to understand who are at higher genetic risk and modify other non-genetic factors to alleviate the total risk and prevent unwanted deaths and morbidity.