In the aftermath of a global pandemic, a deeply concerning trend is quietly taking root, largely unnoticed. Young adults in their 30s and 40s grapple with severe cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and the associated complications. This silent crisis affects even those who meticulously manage their eating habits and fitness regimes, leading to heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrest. This rise highlights an urgent need for organizations and healthcare professionals to raise awareness about the hidden healthcare crisis.
Enigma of Unusual Victims
While half a million people globally are affected by CVDs, according to the World Heart Federation, heart conditions remain the leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 20.5 million deaths annually. Shockingly, nearly 80% of CVD-related deaths usually occur in individuals aged 55 or older. A potent question looms – why are young adults disproportionately affected?
A 2022 study by Cedars Sinai Hospital reports that CVD deaths among those aged 28 to 45 have surged by a terrifying 29.9% year-on-year since the pandemic. Some specialists believe that the COVID-19 virus and the rise in cardiovascular conditions may be linked, although specific causes for the increased risks are unknown. This perplexing trend is a clarion call, urging us to identify the early indicators of heart conditions among the young before it’s too late.
Triggers for Heart Conditions
With rising incidents of young adults succumbing to heart conditions, a study by the India Health Link, in collaboration with the HEAL Foundation, sought to unravel the triggers of sudden cardiac arrest among youth. Their findings unveiled two major triggers: genetic predisposition and an increased sedentary lifestyle. A similar report published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA) outlined that increased risk for heart disease, especially those in early adulthood, is when health markers such as body mass index, cholesterol, glucose, and pressure levels are elevated, and lifestyle choices show substance use.
While critical ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, etc., are the leading causes of cardiovascular disease across all age groups, the younger population bears an even heavier burden. Lifestyle conditions such as obesity, stress, eating disorders, sleep patterns and lifestyle choices such as tobacco use, excessive drinking and more. A family predisposition to heart conditions raises the risk even further.
Enduring for the Affected
The risk factors for CVDs are categorized as non-modifiable and modifiable risks. Non-modifiable risk factors, which cannot be changed, include ethnicity, age, and genetics. In contrast, modifiable risk factors, which can be controlled with altered behavior, are lifestyle changes that help lower and reduce the risk of the disease.
While the risk of non-modifiable factors remains, young adults can lower the risk of CVDs by learning about their family and medical history, as numerous medical conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disorders, are passed through family genetics. Moreover, proactively monitoring health levels while leading a stress-free life, good eating habits, and a physically active lifestyle enable young adults to live healthy.
However, for those who have experienced any heart condition, Cardiac Rehabilitation emerges as a beacon of hope. This medically supervised program is meticulously designed to rejuvenate cardiovascular health through three equally essential parts: exercise counseling and training, counseling to reduce stress, education, and awareness of heart-healthy living.
Safeguarding through Preventive Care
The positive news for those affected is that heart health can be maintained by adopting proactive measures, preventive care, and changes in daily routines through awareness, adherence, and support. Advances in technology and telemedicine have made it easier to access healthcare resources remotely. Tele health also plays a vital role in prevention, diagnosis, and management by providing digital tools. Young adults can harness digital platforms like JEET, a trusted partner in cardiovascular care. JEET empowers users with the knowledge of their condition and provides lifestyle interventions for achieving optimum health. The benefits are manifold, including savings on medical costs, diet counseling, medication reminders, and lifestyle and diagnostic support. A systematic adherence to lifestyle changes empowers patients to embrace a healthier and happier life and improve outcomes.
The aftermath of a global pandemic puts immense emphasis on heart health, especially with the surge in heart attacks among young adults. This serves as a stark reminder that our battle against health challenges calls for heightened awareness, rigorous research, and proactive measures to protect individuals of all ages from the perils of heart disease. In these extraordinary times, let us unite #2getherForAHealthyHeart and celebrate World Heart Day with an unwavering commitment to health and wellbeing.