Sudden death in youngsters due to lack of alternative circulation routes

 - Sakshi Post

As World Heart Day approaches today on 29th September, with a theme to `stop and consider how best to use  'heart' for humanity, for nature, and for you', it is time to examine some lesser known facts about the young deaths that are making headlines. Youngsters must use 'heart' to stay hydrated and take precautions before excessive physical activity, caution the experts.

At a time when the world is looking to pollution and a better environment as key to cardiovascular health, there is clearly more to the disease than what meets the eye. Younger deaths are due to myriad causes and not all of them are on account of pollution.  Dr Ramakanta Panda, world's leading cardiac surgeon and head of Mumbai's Asian Heart Institute explains, "sudden death is more common in young people because they haven't developed alternative circulation. This is not so in older people. They develop blockages over time and their body gets enough time to work around it and get accustomed to the change."

Cautioning youngsters about not hydrating their body enough before strenuous exercise, Dr Panda adds, " when you don't hydrate but exercise heavily and sweat, the blood becomes thicker and you may develop a clot. Also, exercising beyond your capacity causes stress, which may result in the rupturing of the artery, especially if there are cholesterol deposits in it. It is important to do cardiac screening before indulging in any form of vigorous exercise program.

He advises that  chest discomfort/breathlessness on exertion,  indicates the possibility of heart problem and further tests are needed to establish the cause. 

"Remember that by the time the symptoms appear, the disease might be in an advanced stage."

Here's what you can do :

1. Periodic screening tests can identify the problem at an early stage, so that proper treatment may be given before significant damage to the heart happens. Common screening tests include ECG, 2D echocardiogram, stress test, CT scan for coronary calcium.

2. Cardiac screening tests are advisable once a year or once in 2 years after the age 40 in the general population or after the age of 30 in the high-risk population.

3. Regular daily exercise for 30 to 45 mins can keep the body fit and free from many diseases and health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, obesity etc. This in turn helps prevent cardiac disease.

4. Exercising, especially moderate to severe exercise without knowing your underlying cardiac condition is not advisable. Vigorous exercise with underlying coronary blocks may lead to heart attack or cardiac arrest. 

Other common reasons for heart issues in the young include a strong family history of heart disease, coexisting medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, lifestyle problems such as smoking, obesity, stress, lack of exercise ( which is also a problem) and environmental pollution. 

By Dr Ramakanta Panda

(Dr Ramakanta Panda is the world's leading cardiac surgeon and head of Mumbai's Asian Heart Institute. He has been conferred the Padma Bhushan in January 2010, the third highest civilian award in India. He is an ambassador for healthcare reform in India and is among the world’s safest heart surgeons with a 99.8% success rate in bypass surgery).

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