Recently, we heard the news of many young people encountering heart attacks. A 20-year-old could have chest pain due to numerous reasons. Though it is rare, a heart attack can occur in a person in his twenties. A famous Russian Olympic skater, Sergei Grinkov, died of a heart attack in 1995 at 28 years of age while practicing for a performance. He only had Back pain as a symptom, but in the autopsy, the doctors found severely clogged coronary arteries. On DNA analysis, the healthcare professionals diagnosed a rare genetic disease linked with premature heart disease. Recently, in India, many celebrities also encountered heart attacks in their prime age.
According to a study, the heart attack rate is gradually increasing in young adults. People who have had a heart attack in their 20s or 30s are at higher risk for life-threatening cardiovascular events, and you have just as much possibility as someone who may be older. In this study, young and older age groups had about the same rate of traditional risk factors for heart disease, including diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, and a family history of a heart attack. We need more studies to understand the precise cause of increased heart attacks among the younger generation.
The exact cause of heart attacks in young people is still unknown. But the following are the potential risk factors of having a heart attack at a young age are:
Authentic advice on heart disease prevention applies to all age groups, including youngsters. Taking care of your heart in your 20s, 30s, and 40s protects against various heart ailments and helps you in the long run.
The following are some ways to prevent heart attacks for the younger generation:
Start a healthy eating habit : -
Unhealthy eating habits can play an adversary role in developing chronic health conditions, such as obesity, high blood pressure, coronary vessel disease, and Type II diabetes. All these are the principal risk factors for cardiovascular conditions. The foods you consume can affect your weight, hormones, and the organs' health, including your heart. Therefore, switch to nutrient-rich foods high in fiber, minerals, protein, vitamins, antioxidants, and other micronutrients but low in calories and fat. They help regulate body weight, blood cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. The following are some healthy eating advisories:
Switch to healthy fats: When you use fats for cooking, choose monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, sesame oil, or canola oil. Avocado is one of the great sources of monounsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids are healthy choices instead of unhealthy trans fats. PUFA and omega-3 fatty acids are rich in nuts and seeds. Omega-3 fats are in fish. Restrict trans fats, which are present in processed foods and snacks, such as crackers or bakery items.
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables: Seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which improve your immunity and overall well-being.
Prepare meat wisely: Trim any outside fat or skin of meat before cooking. You can also opt for lean meat instead of red meat.
Choose low-fat dairy products: Include fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products instead of high-fat dairy.
Pack in the protein: Consume protein-rich foods, such as fish, lean meats, skinless poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds, and beans.
Go for grainy food items: Whole grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal, or barley, are higher in fiber and complex carbohydrates. These help control body weight and improve gut and heart health.
Include fish: Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which prevent an irregular heart rhythm by lowering fat levels, especially triglycerides. They also slow the plaque buildup that clogs arteries, causing a heart attack.
Try a diet: The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is an approach that lowers blood pressure and bad cholesterol in your blood.
You can also try the Mediterranean diet, which consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish, and is low in red meat and sugar. This diet improves heart health by cutting down triglycerides, which are the prime cause of inflammation.
Making small dietary changes can decrease your risk of heart disease at all ages. It is crucial to maintain a healthy relationship with food in your 20s to improve your heart's well-being.
Set the goal for an active lifestyle : -
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the principal risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. People with low physical fitness experience a higher rate of cardiovascular events, like heart attacks. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of developing high blood pressure by 35% more than an active lifestyle. Being a couch potato contributes to heart disease risk factors along with other factors, such as elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and obesity.
Our heart, just like other body muscles, needs exercise to remain fit. Physical activities encourage our heart to pump more blood with optimal efficiency and minimum strain. It also helps to keep arteries and other blood vessels compliant, ensuring smooth blood flow and normal blood pressure and keeping the heart healthier. A healthy cardiovascular system can deliver more oxygen to your body cells. Exercise also lowers blood pressure levels.
You can opt for exercises, such as running, cycling, dancing, and swimming to your workout plan to improve your cardiac health. Cardio workouts increase the heart rate, which improves blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. A Harward study stated that people who run, swim, or do other cardio exercises are 20 % less likely to suffer from heart disease than those who do not perform cardiovascular workouts.
Therefore, stay active and indulge in physical activities in your 20s to prevent potential cardiovascular diseases.
According to various studies, smoking is the cause of one in four heart attacks. People who smoke have a heart attack risk two to three times higher than nonsmokers. Many heart diseases are due to coronary artery disease, commonly referred to as the hardening of the arteries. Since arteries carry blood to the heart, anything that causes these pathways to narrow or close can result in a heart attack by stopping or restricting the blood supply. Research says that nicotine in cigarettes can destroy the coronary arteries lining cells, resulting in additional pressure on the heart to pump the blood and elevate blood pressure and various ailments.
Know your family history and take preventive measures beforehand:
Many heart diseases tend to run in families. Factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity may run in generations. Be aware if anyone in your family, such as parents, siblings, or grandparents, has suffered cardiovascular problems. Consult with your doctor about lifestyle choices or concerns you may have to prevent getting heart-related conditions.
Know your family history of cardiovascular conditions and even if you are healthy, take the help of a healthcare professional to detect potential problems beforehand. Discuss your health concerns, manage heart conditions with medications, and follow your doctor's recommendations. Manage hypertension and stress through meditation, yoga, and other stress-relieving exercises, and prioritize six to eight hours of sound sleep a night. After 20 years of age, you should start seeing a doctor for an annual checkup to prevent potential heart diseases.
Lower your Blood Pressure: - Young people with even slightly above-normal blood pressure may encounter heart problems in the future. So it is crucial to measure your BP at least once a year. If you have blood pressure more than 120/80, immediately consult a healthcare professional.
Lower your Blood Cholesterol Levels: - Elevated cholesterol levels in the 20s, 30s, and 40s increase the risk for cardiovascular diseases. Lifestyle and dietary changes can bring high cholesterol levels to normal levels. High cholesterol levels increase the risk of a heart attack. You can control it by consuming food low in cholesterol and sugar and high in complex carbohydrates and good fats. Regular physical activities can lower bad cholesterol and improve good cholesterol.
Work towards a Healthy Weight: - Nowadays, obesity in adults between the ages of 20 and 39 is increasing significantly. Various research shows that excess body weight puts an extra strain on the heart and worsens other heart disease risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and triglycerides. Pairing a healthy diet with regular exercise is the best way to prevent heart disease and reverse some risk factors.
Manage your stress: - A person can experience stress or anxiety due to various reasons, which can lead to cumulative detrimental health effects, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and other physical side effects. Manage stress by practicing relaxation techniques, journaling, meditation, massage, or yoga.
Family history, congenital heart abnormality, and the risk factors mentioned above are the potential causes of various heart diseases and heart attacks. We can prevent various heart diseases with earlier detection, lifestyle changes, and managing other risk factors. You can protect yourself from cardiovascular diseases, such as quitting smoking, regular exercising, consuming a heart-healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and managing your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Your heart will definitely thank you for acquiring heart-healthy habits at an early age as you progress through your thirties, forties, and beyond.