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Heart disease: Unhealthy lifestyles put youth at risk

By Chioma Obinna

Unhealthy lifestyles, consumption of junk foods and lack of exercise have been linked to the growing incidences of heart attacks and other heart related problems among young people.

junk foodA renowned Consultant Cardiologist at the Apollo Heart Centre, Apollo Hospitals Bangalore,  Dr. Venkatesh Kumar, who made the disclosure in a chat with newsmen,  alerted on the need for people to eschew habits such as smoking and other factors including stress, obesity  that can increase their risk of health problems at a young  age.

Kumar said heart disease can be prevented when detected early and treatment initiated.

“Identifying individuals with high risk heart disease and undertaking appropriate measures to adopt a healthy lifestyle – have a regular physical activity, consumption of heart healthy foods, cessation of smoking, correction of obesity and achieving ideal Body Mass Index, BMI as well as control risks factors of diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia will go a long way in stemming the prevalence of heart disease in young people.

He noted that globally, heart disease is the leading cause of death because people pay less attention to heart healthy diet and physical activity and that the risk factors are increasing within the  populace leading to the increased prevalence of heart disease.

Kumar said many Nigerian patients with various heart challenges have been treated and implanted with automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillators, which are devices that monitor advanced heart failure and prevent sudden cardiac death.

He identified combination of genetic and environmental factors as contributing to increase prevalence of heart disease in Nigerian and Africans at large, saying  cardiac arrest is a deceptive disease with a spectrum of presentation.

“Severe CAD can exist without symptoms and the first presentation may be sudden cardiac death or a serious heart attack, there is no correlation between severity of the disease and the symptoms.

“When a patient complains of chest discomfort, urgent heart function tests such as ECG should be carried out. When it is confirmed as a heart attack, the patient should be quickly taken to the nearest hospital,” he added.


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