World Heart Day 2022: Sudden Death In Youngsters Due To Lack Of Alternative Circulation Routes


World Heart Day 2022: Periodic screening tests can identify the problem at an early stage

As World Heart Day approaches again on 29th September, with a theme to `stop and consider how best to use  ‘heart’ for humanity, for nature, and for you, it is time to examine some lesser-known facts about the young deaths that are making headlines. Youngsters must use ‘heart’ to stay hydrated and take precautions before excessive physical activity, caution the experts.

At a time when the world is looking to pollution and a better environment as key to cardiovascular health, there is clearly more to the disease than what meets the eye. Younger deaths are due to myriad causes and not all of them are on account by pollution.  Dr. Ramakanta Panda, the world’s leading cardiac surgeon and head of Mumbai’s Asian Heart Institute explains, “sudden death is more common in young people because they haven’t developed alternative circulation. This is not so in older people. They develop blockages over time and their body gets enough time to work around it and get accustomed to the change.”

Cautioning youngsters about not hydrating their body enough before strenuous exercise, Dr. Panda adds, “when you don’t hydrate but exercise heavily and sweat, the blood becomes thicker and you may develop a clot. Also, exercising beyond your capacity causes stress, which may result in the rupturing of the artery, especially if there are cholesterol deposits in it. It is important to do cardiac screening before indulging in any form of vigorous exercise program.

He advises that chest discomfort/breathlessness on exertion, indicates the possibility of heart problems and further tests are needed to establish the cause. “Remember that by the time the symptoms appear, the disease might be in an advanced stage.”

Here’s what you can do :

1. Periodic screening tests can identify the problem at an early stage, so that proper treatment may be given before significant damage to the heart happens. Common screening tests include ECG, 2D echocardiogram, stress test, and CT scan for coronary calcium.

2. Cardiac screening tests are advisable once a year or once in 2 years after the age of 40 in the general population or after the age of 30 in the high-risk population.

3. Regular daily exercise for 30 to 45 mins can keep the body fit and free from many diseases and health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc. This in turn helps prevent cardiac disease.

4. Exercising, especially moderate to severe exercise without knowing your underlying cardiac condition is not advisable. Vigorous exercise with underlying coronary blocks may lead to heart attack or cardiac arrest. 

Other common reasons for heart issues in the young include a strong family history of heart disease, coexisting medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, lifestyle problems such as smoking, obesity, stress, lack of exercise ( which is also a problem), and environmental pollution. 

Content By: Dr. Ramakanta Panda, head of Mumbai’s Asian Heart Institute

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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