Youth & Cardiac Problems: What Lies Beneath?


Recently, we have seen a sudden rise in cases of cardiac deaths among young people. The seemingly healthy is making news lately, and some pioneered cardiologists tracking cardiac arrhythmia or irregular beats have consistently noted more stressors among young people over the years. Some studies suggest that South Asians are more prone to heart attacks [1,2] compared to Caucasians and are likely to suffer cardiac problems about ten years earlier.

The number of younger patients is growing anyways. A recent, large, case-control study including subjects in India confirmed that conventional risk factors are associated with CAD in South Asians. These risk factors include hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes mellitus and tobacco use [3]. When comparing risk factors among populations, it is important to recognize that South Asians represent a highly heterogeneous group of people, with wide variations in the use of tobacco and meat products, as well as differing cultural approaches to health, diet and exercise.

Undiagnosed Millennials and Poor Lifestyle:

We have generally seen young men and women reach out to doctors, saying they are healthy and fit. They also burn enough calories, and their immediate blood test reports do not show any cause for panic. These young people do not know that apart from plaque bursts, some silent underlying heart conditions generally do not tend to be troublesome but are likely to manifest in a moment of strenuous exercise [4]. The routine blood reports encourage people to live the present lifestyle [5] without impacting its long-term implications.

What people miss is that unhealthy food discipline, altered ingredients (GMOs and Soda), smoking and binge drinking on weekends can be a trigger for the hidden demon. With the bar for alcohol consumption being lowered to younger ages, alcoholism is becoming a prevalent pest. With the missing diagnosis for the underlying heart condition, these factors accelerate the stress on the heart to level up degree. So even with regular exercise, the lifestyle disorder is a significant risk factor as it overlaps the stress caused by exercise. Regular physical activity is a positive determinant of longevity and is associated with an improved cardiovascular risk. However, the prescription of training may be complex [6].

But there is a need to establish the ‘dose’ of exercise that might be harmful rather than protective. Vigorous exertion may transiently increase the risk of acute cardiac events [7]. So, one might not be medically healthy, given the underlying cardiac disease. But how to help?

Take Note of the Silent Triggers?

There are probabilities of genetic arrhythmic [8] in the family, a spontaneous genetic variation, a thickened heart muscle (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) and rhythmic disorders. These may not appear early but only once you get tested for them. For example, the most known cause of sudden cardiac death in young people is a genetic condition that causes the heart muscle to grow thick. This increases the difficulty for the heart to pump blood and accelerate heartbeats during a fast-paced exercise. This becomes the reason for cardiac collapse owing to faulty electrical signalling in the heart. A fast-paced heart causes the lower heart chambers (ventricles) to tremble instead of pumping blood. This irregular heart rhythm, ventricular fibrillation, is responsible for building stress during heavy exercises. Long QT syndrome [9, 10] is a heart rhythm condition that causes chaotic & fast heartbeats. It is often linked to unexplained fainting and death in young people. Cardiologists also see excessive use of protein and muscle-enhancing supplements by youngsters at the gym as red flags. Doctors fear such arbitrary use as they could be packed with steroids and interfere with heart functioning, especially during work-out.

An unexpected cardiac arrest can lead to sudden death if the patient fails to receive immediate revival (within the first six minutes of the onset of an attack). An adult human heart beats 60-100 beats/minute, and any fluctuation in this rate, either too slow or too fast, is known as cardiac arrhythmia. So, any increase in heart rate is fatal, so keep an eye on it.

How Do We Prevent Cardiac Episodes? When Do I Get Tested?

We care about our readers and have come up with some basic things you can keep track of to keep your heart healthy!

1) When hitting the age bar of 30, go for an annual lipid profile screening, diabetes, liver and kidney function, with an ECG on a regular note. Since metabolic issues show up among most South-Asians, it is vital to keep a check.

2) For those actively engaged in workouts and gym activities, ensure you reach a doctor before the trainer. Having a prophylactic check-up and cardiac evaluation for silent problems can be helpful. Make sure you push down strenuous exercises and work within your body limits.

3) Avoid consuming protein supplements without a proper medical evaluation of the ingredients and what and how they target your body.

4) Beyond 40, take an annual stress test to check on any underlying disease-causing stress to your heart. This can help in the early diagnosis of any abnormality, even if any blood test or echocardiogram misses it.

5) Do not run away from the Treadmill Test (TMT), as it is conducted under controlled circumstances and is intended to identify the problem that triggers your heart stress.

6) Every young individual above 20 years must get an annual ECG, blood sugar, lipid profile and an exercise stress test.

7) Annual exercise test is a must for smokers, diabetics, obese and those at risk. It is also recommended to have a cardiac check-up before signing up for running activities or marathons.

What Else it takes to Live with a Healthy Heart?

A Pause of Smoking: Smoking is strongly associated with cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease and hypertension. Compared with non-smokers, smokers have a 1.6-fold greater risk of developing myocardial infarction and a 23 per cent increased risk of stroke. Studies prove that in a person who has no history of cardiovascular disease, smoking cessation reduces mortality from cardiovascular disease by about 2-35 per cent [11], which is similar to the effect of antihypertensive treatment. For those who have heart disease or diabetes, smoking cessation can reduce overall mortality by 12-35 per cent.

Food Choices: Diet is a crucial factor in the development of cardiovascular disease. A diet that prevents high cholesterol levels can help prevent heart attacks and strokes, increasing the life expectancy for people who follow a healthy lifestyle. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can be found in fish, nuts and seeds, which are beneficial to the heart because the body cannot produce them. The consumption of unhealthy diets, including fast food, increases the risk of hypercholesterolemia, hypertension and diabetes. This can damage the heart and make it more likely to develop heart disease. To keep your heart healthy, you should have a diet low in saturated fats and salt but plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Find here some fantastic health benefits of pumpkin seeds!

Environmental Factors: The development of the foetus is influenced by a polluted environment during pregnancy and can ultimately lead to congenital heart disease. Although evidence supporting this theory is limited, recent studies suggest that air pollution may also play a role in causing congenital anomalies, particularly genetic heart diseases. PM2.5 in the air can increase the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, arrhythmia and heart failure exacerbation within hours to days of exposure to the pollutant in susceptible individuals. [12, 13]

There are many other ways to keep your heart healthy; it is best to start with a lifestyle, mend your plate and then go for a diagnosis for the best results!

Ending Note:

The world has been under a veil lately. We must consciously choose, what we eat, where we sit and how we conduct our bodies. The COVID vaccines is a new culprit to count on as it is causing heart attacks in young athletes. We have been fooled and marketed products and ingredients that cause harm over any claimed benefits. It is essential to know and understand the food. Also, beware and read the labels on packets and bottles before making a purchase.

Kickstart your transformational journey by de-cluttering, targeting and reducing stress. You can choose from this list of hobbies to take up for de-stressing or find your own. Learn how to relieve your headache and stress with Acupressure in 30 seconds. Understand your sleep cycle and induce some deep sleep for better body relaxation. Finally, consider your choices on exercise on some subtle and sound choices like Yoga or yogic transformation for a healthy life!

Lastly, DO NOT MISS ON THAT SMILE!

References and Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6777562/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21305840/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15364185/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK536915/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7177934/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25332788/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30155804/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32678103/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441860/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3461497/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23343063/
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18718418/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23772934/

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Love and Light
The Healing Oracle Team

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