Heart Attack in Young and Fit. Why does this happen and What to do?

Can heart attack occur in young and fit adults?

Heart attack which used to be a disease in 60 and 70-year-old adults is now affecting young and fit adults in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. This change is concerning as more and more are affected by heart problems. Although a person may be regular at physical activity, they may have additional health problems like diabetes, hypertension that are undetected. A person may also be using recreational drugs and/or smoke both of which independently can predispose to heart attacks at a early age.

What causes heart attack?

Heart attack is caused by blocking of the arterial supply to the heart. This most commonly occurs because of a plaque in the heart. The building of plaque in the coronary artery of the heart starts at a very early age of 2 years. Plaque consists of fat or lipid cells, inflammatory cells that accumulate due to stress, smoking, low physical activity amongst other factors. Prevention is better than cure. It is important to recognize this and develop healthy habits which help prevents heart attacks. It is important to be fit and healthy to prevent heart attacks. In spite of this, the young and fit group are having increasing problems with heart attack due to factors like smoking and recreational drug use. These can cause immediate cessation of blood flow to the heart that can precipitate a sudden heart attack and could even lead to immediate death.

What can be done to prevent heart attack?

There are some basic things that should be taken care of.

  1. Stop Smoking
  2. Good nutrition. Balanced diet with fruits, vegetables and high fiber. Avoid high sugar and fried foods. As tasty they may be, the heart may not like them in the long run.
  3. Timely visit to a doctor
  4. Detection and management of hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol
  5. Maintain physical activity or start one if you are not active. If unable to do any vigorous exercise or play contact sports, walk for at least 30 minutes every day. Climb stairs whenever you can.
  6. Maintain optimal body weight. Reduce body weight if overweight. The heart has to work hard if a person is obese and can have increased stress on the heart.
  7. Manage stress. Above mentioned strategies work in coordination to reduce stress.
  8. STOP using recreational drugs. Seek medical help if required. These can cause sudden blockage of blood flow to the heart and increase the risk of heart attack.

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