In yet another adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on youngsters in the city, cardiovascular experts noted a rise in heart-related ailments among people aged between 20 and 40 in Bengaluru over the last few months.
According to Dr C N Manjunath, Director, Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardio-Vascular Sciences and Research (SJICR), the number of heart attacks being reported among youngsters has seen a rise of nearly 5 per cent in the last few months from how it was during the pre-pandemic times.
“These cases were particularly among those aged between 25 and 35. People of this age group have been very anxious because of the Covid-19 crisis and seemed to be over-ambitious trying to achieve too many goals in a short period of time, especially when situations are non-favourable,” he told The Indian Express.
The cardiologist cited a study undertaken by SJICR between 2017 and 2019 which noted 51 per cent of youngsters diagnosed with cardiovascular issues were habitual smokers, while factors like being diabetic, high blood pressure, and family history were also observed to be fuelling the rise.
“Non-conventional factors like stress at different levels, air pollution, unhealthy diets and narcotic abuse have been noted to be on the rise which needs immediate intervention,” he remarked.
Renowned cardiac surgeon Dr Devi Shetty noted Indians are “three times more vulnerable” to heart attacks than Europeans and Americans. “While I have seen most patients are retired professionals in England, it is the breadwinners of the family who seek bypass graft in India. Indians are developing heart attacks like an epidemic,” he said, raising an alert on the situation.
Dr Shetty added, “Almost all of my young patients smoked like chimneys when they were in school and college. This is the penalty they are paying now.” He warned, “Keeping away from tobacco is imperative as it leads to a painful slow death, thereby ruining the entire family.”
Meanwhile, Dr Praveen Sadarmin, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at Narayana Health City in Bengaluru adduced the rise in myocardial infarction cases at his hospital among 25 to 40 year olds in the recent past to the sedentary lifestyle followed in the city. “The increased consumption of processed food, other lifestyle habits like consumption of alcohol and smoking are the major causes for the rise. Covid-19-induced stress is also one of the predominant factors that contributes to the increase in heart ailments,” he said.
Dr Sadarmin added that Narayana Health City has been seeing admission of at least seven patients every month due to heart attacks in the last quarter. “Ensuring a proper diet, exercising regularly and getting health check-ups done at regular intervals can help in not only averting the emergency situation that the disease can cause but also in avoiding the onset of the condition itself,” he added.
Meanwhile, the rise in patients aged below 40 being admitted for heart-related ailments at Sakra World Hospital is about 15 per cent since the pandemic began in comparison to that of 2019, Dr Sreekanth B Shetty, Senior Consultant and Head of Interventional Cardiology at the hospital, said.
“A majority of these cases were seen among male patients and most of them complained of job losses and pay cuts other than reduced physical activities, interrupted check-ups and weight gain among other reasons,” he said.
Noting a similar trend, Divya Marina Fernandes, Consultant, Interventional Cardiology and Heart Failure Specialist, Aster RV Hospital, said, “The work from home style of working is also affecting the cardiovascular well-being of youngsters in Bengaluru.”
“As there are no fixed working hours while working from home, youngsters are forced to work for longer hours with fewer gaps. This has led to increased work pressure, tight deadlines and disturbed sleep patterns. Young people come with palpitations or fast heartbeat, chest pain and breathlessness these days,” she said.
Dr Fernandes advised youngsters to try finding a work-life balance. “Speak to the team leaders about work pressure. Try to balance both personal and professional life. Eat healthy home-cooked meals on time, try to exercise at least for 30 minutes five days a week,” she said.