A heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction, is a life-threatening condition in which the blood vessels that carry oxygen to the heart disconnect abruptly from the organ and causes damage to the heart tissues.
Studies suggest that not only people above the age of 50 years are prone to heart attacks or coronary heart diseases (CHD), but also those who are in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.
In coronary heart disease (CHD), the heart’s arteries are blocked due to plaque build-up, obstructing blood supply to the heart.
In India, approximately 25% population below the age of 40 years are at higher risk of getting affected by a heart complication.
The risk jumps to around 50% for people between 40 and 50 years.
As you read further, you’ll learn about the causes that can lead to a heart attack and some symptoms that you can experience.
You’ll also find information about some tests that can help diagnose heart complications and a few preventive measures to improve heart health and minimize the risk of myocardial infarction.
Causes of heart attacks in young people
Some studies prove that one of the leading causes of heart disease in young people is smoking. Some other causes of coronary heart disease in people below the age of 40 years include:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Alcohol consumption
- Not getting enough sleep for a prolonged time
- Being overweight
- Type 1 & Type 2 diabetes
Symptoms of heart attack
Some symptoms of myocardial infarction are similar to the symptoms of heartburn. This confusion can cause a delay in getting the right treatment. Therefore, you must know whether it is a heart attack or heartburn.
Common symptoms of a heart attack include:
- Shortness of breath
- A feeling of weakness and lightheadedness
- Pain that travels back and forth from the centre of the chest to the left arm
- Discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back
Apart from these symptoms, read about the six body parts that can indicate a heart attack – here.
Monitoring your heart health
Diagnoses are the best ways to ascertain the health of any organ. These tests can give a comprehensive insight into your health, allowing you to take preventive measures in case anomalies are detected, indicative of a risk factor for a possible illness.
There are several tests available that can help determine the condition of your heart. Depending on your age, gender, and overall health, your doctor can recommend any of the following tests:
- ECG test: Electrocardiogram test is non-invasive and painless. This test helps diagnose the conditions affecting the heart by monitoring electric impulses made by each heartbeat
- TMT test: The treadmill test is also a non-invasive test that helps determine the blood movement to the heart before and after exercising (running on a treadmill). A TMT test can help detect complications in coronary arteries
- Other tests that can help identify heart complications include cardiac MRI and CT scan
Preventive measures against heart ailments
Here are a few tips that you can include in your lifestyle to improve the functioning of your heart.
- Quit smoking & avoid second-hand smoke
- Load your diet with nutritious and fibrous foods that improve heart health
- Minimize salt intake
- Say no to package foods
- Keep an eye on your cholesterol levels, blood pressure, & blood sugar levels
- Exercise regularly (brisk walking, running, swimming, & jumping rope)
- Yoga & breathing exercises
- Stay active. Avoid sedentary lifestyle
- Avoid alcohol consumption
- Get preventive health checks
Myocardial infarction is becoming common in young adults. One of the best ways to minimize the risk is by avoiding the above-mentioned causes that can weaken your heart, taking preventive measures, getting diagnosed early, and consulting your doctor upon experiencing the symptoms.
Moreover, you should also frequently opt for a preventive heart screening. It provides you with vital insights into your heart health, allowing you to take necessary measures to improve it.