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Why heart attacks are on rise in young adults? Know risk factors and prevention

Gone are the days when heart attacks and strokes were only restricted to the elderly and those who had a history of cholesterol, smoking and diabetes as the disease is getting more common now among people as young as 25-year-olds.

Health Desk Written By: Health Desk New Delhi Published on: January 15, 2023 17:14 IST
heart attack
Image Source : FREEPIK Why heart attacks are on the rise in young adults

Heart attack or stroke in young adults, also known as young stroke, is a major public health issue affecting several youngsters as well as a small number of adults who fall under the 45-year mark. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a stroke is one of the most common neurological conditions that cause long-term disabilities coupled with a large number of emotional and socioeconomic consequences. It also causes severe distress to the patients, their families and health service providers.

A stroke is defined as a transient ischemic attack or a cerebrovascular accident that occurs when the blood flow to the brain is blocked which prevents the brain from getting the optimum oxygen and nutrients from the blood. Due to a lack of oxygen and nutrients, brain cells begin to die within minutes causing lasting brain damage, long-term disability and even death.

The most common type of stroke is an ischemic stroke caused by a blockage in the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain. The other predominant causes of stroke among youngsters include - Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) - This occurs when there is bleeding in an area between the arachnoid membrane and the pia mater that surrounds the brain. Aneurysmal rupture is the most common cause of SAH.

A young stroke can also be defined as FAST which stands for Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties and Time. This acronym is used as a mnemonic to help detect and improve the responsiveness of a patient’s needs. Some of the symptoms of young stroke include:

Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms, or legs, especially on one side of the body

Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or trouble understanding
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, and loss of balance or coordination
Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Here is a list of risk factors 

  • Smoking
  • Alcoholism
  • Increased BMI
  • diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Dyslipidaemia
  • Past H/o stroke
  • Rheumatic heart disease with atrial fibrillation
  • Oral contraceptive pills (2-5 fold increased risk for women)

There are several ways through which you can lower your risk of stroke - Adopt a healthy diet by consuming nutritious fresh unprocessed foods and limit your salt intake as they can reduce your risk of hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol, all of which as the classic risk factors for stroke. Get at least 30 minutes of consistent physical activity every day to overcome issues like Obesity. Weight loss can help in lowering your blood pressure and can help relieve stress in the heart, lungs, blood vessels and bones. Smokers have two to four times higher risk of stroke than non-smokers, hence, one must avoid or quit smoking.


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