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Heart Disease Risk Factors in Young Adults

Heart Disease Risk Factors in Young Adults



Heart diseases, heart attacks, or coronary artery diseases, which were once labelled as the diseases of senior citizens, are now highly prevalent in young adults too. There has been an increase in the number of deaths among young adults in our community as a result of heart disease, which has affected celebrities such as Sidharth Shukla, Singer KK, and more recently

The number of heart attack and cardiac arrest cases is on an alarming rise in India, with 25% of cases being below 40 years of age. Besides, those between 20 and 30 years of age who have all the risk factors for heart disease are highly vulnerable.

A heart attack occurs when the blood-supplying arteries of the heart are blocked by clots. The blockage usually occurs due to fat buildup, cholesterol, and other substances in the coronary arteries. The fatty, cholesterol-containing deposits are called plaques.

Having said that, Indians are particularly at an increased risk of heart problems owing to the following factors:


  • Genetic predisposition
  • Small heart vessels
  • High LDL (bad cholesterol)
  • Low HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Early onset of diabetes
  • Obesity, particularly central fat deposition
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Unhealthy food choices with a higher intake of fat, sugar, and salt

The chances of getting heart disease as an adult will decrease if you can control as many risk factors as early as possible.


How can you reduce your risk of heart disease?


Risk factors for heart disease can be classified into two categories: genetic and controllable. While genetic risk factors are beyond anyone’s control, other factors like lifestyle changes can be adopted early in life to avert the major risk factors for heart disease.

Controlling maximum risk factors like obesity, blood pressure, smoking, inactive lifestyle, and more will reduce the possibility of developing heart disease.

Here are some preventive measures you can take for your children and as an adolescent to lead a life free of heart disease and related ailments. 


Quit smoking.


The risk that must be avoided at all costs is smoking. People who smoke are more than twice as likely to die from a heart attack as people who don't smoke. Thus, if you smoke, it is better to quit or don't start smoking to begin with.

Even if you don't smoke, being around people who do is passive smoking, which will ultimately lead to an increased risk of heart disease.


Cut down on cholesterol.


You will likely get heart disease if your cholesterol level is higher than average. The ideal levels can vary depending on age, gender, overall health, and family history. Talk to your doctor about making lifestyle, dietary, and other changes.

In general, your cholesterol levels should look like this:


  • Less than 200 mg/dL of total cholesterol
  • "Good" cholesterol, or HDL, is 60 mg/dL or higher.
  • "Bad" cholesterol, or LDL, is less than 100 mg/dL.
  • Less than 150 mg/dL for Triglycerides

You can lower your cholesterol by resorting to a diet low in saturated and trans fats, sugar, and complex carbohydrates. Regular exercise can also help raise "good" cholesterol and lower "bad" cholesterol levels in your blood. To control the cholesterol levels further, your doctor may suggest some medications as well.


Control high blood pressure.


About 67 million people in the U.S. have high blood pressure, making it the most common risk factor for heart disease. Nearly one-third of adults have high blood pressure, meaning their systolic blood pressure is over 140 and their diastolic blood pressure is over 90. Your doctor will look at your overall health, overall lifestyle, and other risk factors to figure out what your blood pressure numbers mean. Your doctor will then create a plan that includes diet, exercise, weight management, and, if necessary, medication to help control your blood pressure.


Control diabetes.


If diabetes is not well controlled, it can lead to heart disease and even heart attack. Diabetes can be controlled by eating well, working out, staying at a healthy weight, and taking medicine as prescribed by your doctor.


Family history


The World Heart Federation says that you are more likely to get heart disease if a first-degree male relative (like a father or brother) has had a heart attack before age 55 or a first-degree female relative has had one before age 65. If your parents had heart disease before they were 55, your risk of getting heart disease could increase by 50% compared to the rest of the population.




Obesity is linked to several health issues that make a person prone to heart diseases. According to the World Heart Federation, a person who is overweight is more likely to get hypertension, type-2 diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, and cardiovascular disease.

One of the many factors that puts kids and young adults at an increased risk for heart disease is childhood obesity. It is considered dangerous because scientists think that the fat cells we get as kids stay with us into adulthood. Children who are overweight may have five times as many fat cells as children who are at a healthy weight. Focus on adopting a healthy, balanced diet right from childhood to have strong heart health later.


Be active


Heart disease is more common in people who don't exercise than in people who include physical activity in their routine. Your chance of getting heart disease can go down if you do some light exercise like going for a walk, dancing, or playing outdoor sports.

Most people should work out moderately for 30 minutes a day. Exercising vigorously is also beneficial, but it is recommended to speak to your doctor first. Try to get into an exercise routine that gets your heart rate up. Activities like brisk walking, cycling, swimming, skipping rope, jogging, and aerobics are considered the best to raise your heart rate.


You can also lift weights to make your muscles stronger and gain healthy muscle weight instead of fat weight. If it's hard to stay motivated, make an exercise plan where you get to choose two or three things that sound like fun. So, you'll always have some options to experiment with and diversify with. Before starting an exercise program, you should talk to your doctor, especially if you have health problems or haven't worked out in a while.




Dr. Himanshu Gupta
Cardiac Care
Meet The Doctor
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