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Cardiovascular disease among young Indians: 4 lifestyle changes, diet tips to avoid heart issues

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Nov 20, 2023 06:25 PM IST

People who develop cardiovascular disease at a young age are more likely to have a severe or fatal form of the heart issue. Make these lifestyle and diet tweaks

Did you know that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is infiltrating young Indians' lives at an alarming rate? Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is India's leading cause of death, accounting for 26.6% of all fatalities but what is concerning is the rising prevalence of CVD among young Indians.

Cardiovascular disease among young Indians: 4 lifestyle changes, diet tips to avoid heart issues (Shutterstock)
Cardiovascular disease among young Indians: 4 lifestyle changes, diet tips to avoid heart issues (Shutterstock)

In fact, according to a study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research, the incidence of CVD in people aged 30-44 years has increased by 300% over the last two decades. This is a major public health issue because early-onset CVD can have devastating consequences such as heart attack, stroke, and premature death.

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The Youth and Cardiovascular Health

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Arul Dominic Furtado, Consultant - Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at Aster CMI Hospital in Bangalore, explained, “CVD refers to a group of conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels, including coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and strokes. The rise in CVD among young Indians is shocking. Sedentary lifestyles, poor dietary choices, stress, and genetic predisposition are all factors contributing to this rise. It's past time to dispel the myth that CVD is only a problem for the elderly. Recent statistics and case studies suggest otherwise.”

According to him, CVD is becoming more common among young Indians for a variety of reasons. These are some examples:

  • Obesity, smoking, and diabetes are becoming more common risk factors.
  • People's lifestyles are changing, with more people becoming sedentary and eating unhealthy diets.
  • CVD susceptibility might be inherited.

The Consequences of Early-Onset CVD

Dr Arul Dominic Furtado cautioned, “CVD that develops early in life can be fatal. People who develop CVD at a young age are more likely to have a severe form of the disease and to die as a result of it. Early-onset CVD can also negatively impact a person's quality of life. People suffering from CVD may experience chronic pain, fatigue, and other health issues. They may also be required to make lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and altering their diet.”

He highlighted the following lifestyle factors -

  • Sedentary Lifestyle: Our modern lives have become increasingly sedentary, with long hours spent sitting in front of screens and little physical activity. This lack of physical activity significantly raises the risk of CVD. Regular exercise can be a game changer in the prevention of CVD.
  • Poor Dietary Habits: Fast food, excessive sugar consumption, and a lack of essential nutrients in our diets have all become the norm. These bad eating habits contribute to the rise in CVD. It is possible to make a significant difference by promoting a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Stress and Mental Health: Stress has become a constant companion in our lives. Chronic stress not only has an impact on mental health, but it also plays an important role in the development of CVD. Understanding the connection between stress and CVD is critical, as is implementing stress management strategies.
  • Genetic Predisposition: Some people have a genetic predisposition to CVD. Because family history is so important in determining CVD risk, genetic testing and counselling are important tools for identifying and mitigating this risk.

Prevention and Awareness

Dr Arul Dominic Furtado concluded, “CVD prevention in young Indians should be a collaborative effort. Early detection and prevention are critical. Schedule regular health checks to keep an eye on your heart health. To raise awareness, educational campaigns and initiatives should be actively promoted. The government and healthcare sector both play critical roles in making healthcare and information more accessible. To summarise, the rising tide of cardiovascular disease among young Indians is a serious concern that must be addressed immediately. We must dispel the myth that CVD is only a problem for the elderly. We can make significant progress in combating this silent epidemic by addressing sedentary lifestyles, poor dietary choices, stress, and genetic predisposition.”

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