If you feel unwell with a handful of symptoms like diarrhea, intense sweating, a bit of biliousness, or a chest clutch while playing sports or reading a book, it could be a virus causing trouble or could be the symptoms of a heart attack. Even though sudden death due to a heart attack in young people is as rare as hen’s teeth, problems that weaken the heart in young people are now becoming common.
Following are 5 factors that are responsible for increasing the risk of heart attack in young people:
The super cool trend of smoking cigarettes every day is not so cool apparently. Chemicals like carbon monoxide and nicotine found in cigarettes affect the heart function. Carbon monoxide reduces oxygen levels in your blood, making the heart work harder to supply oxygen-rich blood to the body. The nicotine stimulates adrenaline production in the body, which makes the heart go into overdrive mode by increasing your heart rate. So, smoking makes your heart work too much, making it weak and susceptible to heart issues like stroke and heart attack. Second-hand smoking has also been shown to be a cause of heart problems in nonsmokers. If you are a smoker, quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to protect the health of your heart as well as that of others.
- Overweight and Obesity
With increasing options for junk foods like burgers, fries and shakes in food chains, obesity has also been increasing continually; the graph is only pointing upwards. Obesity leads to high cholesterol levels and diabetes, both of which affect your heart health. The rise in blood pressure levels has been directly linked to increased risk of heart failure. Obesity doesn’t just stop at affecting your heart; it adds salt to the wound by causing other diseases like osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease, and some cancers. If you are overweight and almost on the verge of becoming obese, try losing 10 percent of your body weight, it will help lower the risk of heart problems.
When you’re running late for your meeting due to traffic, don’t get stressed. Try being a cool cat rather than going nuts. Your response to stress affects your chances of experiencing a heart attack. Research says that stress increases blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which lead to heart dysfunction. Some people also tend to drink and smoke while stressed, which makes it even more difficult to maintain normal blood pressure levels, in turn affecting the heart. Some people have a tendency to become inactive or overeat when stressed, which also has a bad effect on the heart.
- Reduced physical activity
If you are a couch potato who’s glued to the laptop or television screen for hours or who sits at the office desk for hours on end, feeling lazy to get up even for a loo break, this is for you. Being physically inactive for a long time may seem harmless but is a silent killer. It increases the risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease and promotes the development of diseases like diabetes and hypertension. Inactive or even lesser active people develop the risk of high blood pressure by 30%-50%. So reduced physical activity runs parallel with cigarette smoking and high cholesterol in being a risk factor for heart diseases. Regular physical activity has protected people from getting the first cardiac episode and helped them recover well from coronary surgeries.
So achieve the target of completing at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week as recommended by the National Institutes of Health.
- Alcohol consumption
Sipping on some booze every once in a while is almost everybody’s jam. If you drink alcohol in moderation, which is, on an average, one drink for women and one to two drinks for men per day, it is all right. FYI, one drink is 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits (containing 40% alcohol), 12 oz. of beer, or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits (containing 50% alcohol). Drinking more than the moderate amount of alcohol rings an alarm for conditions that affect the heart like high blood pressure, stroke, and obesity. So, enjoy your drink but don’t go off limits.
Look out for red flags that your body may give if the heart is having issues. Take precautions to lower your risk factors for getting a heart attack before the damage is done.