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Rise of Heart Attacks in Young Adults

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Rise of Heart Attacks in Young Adults

Heart is an organ that itself requires a good amount of blood to keep it fit and working. This work is carried out by coronary artery. Coronary arteries give our heart this critical blood supply and heart attack often occurs when there is an impetuous thorough blockage of coronary artery. Fat, calcium, proteins, and inflammatory cells build up inside arteries to form plaques. These plaque deposits are hard on the outside and soft and mushy on the inside. When a part of plaque halts, blood cells and additional portions of the blood branch to the injured area and generate blood clots. When the plaque is hard, the outer shell cracks. This is called a rupture. Platelets (disc-shaped things in your blood that help it clot) come to the area, and blood clots form around the plaque. If a blood clot blocks your artery, your heart muscle becomes starved for oxygen. The muscle cells soon die, causing permanent damage. Rarely, a spasm in coronary artery can also cause a heart attack. During this coronary spasm, arteries restrict or spasm on and off, cutting off the blood supply to the heart muscle (ischemia). It can happen while a person is at rest and even if a person doesn’t have serious coronary artery disease. A heart attack is occasionally called a myocardial infarction (MI), acute myocardial infarction, coronary occlusion  even some time coronary thrombosis.

Nowadays heart attack is commonly occurring in young men who are in the age group of 20s to 30s. Some of the common causes that increase risk of heart attack among young people are increased cell phone use, deteriorating food quality, less emphasis on physical education in schools, smoking, drug abuse, stress, emotional pain and exposure to extreme cold.

Over the past few years, physicians have come to recognize and better understand this form of heart attack. This unusual type of heart attack does not involve rupturing plaques or blocked blood vessels. It is called takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or stress cardiomyopathy. Japanese doctors, who were the first to describe this condition, named it “takotsubo” because during this disorder, the heart takes on a distinctive shape that resembles a Japanese pot used to trap an octopus. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy was commonly believed to be caused by sudden emotional stress, such as the death of a child, and to be far less harmful than a typical heart attack. For that reason, some had also labeled this condition “broken-heart syndrome.” Compared with people who had experienced a “typical” heart attack, patients with takotsubo cardiomyopathy were almost twice as likely to have a neurological or psychiatric disorder. And in contrast to the commonly-held belief among doctors that takotsubo cardiomyopathy is less serious than other forms of heart attack, the rates of death in the hospital between takotsubo cardiomyopathy and more “traditional” heart attacks were similar

Stress can occur at different levels. A little stress associated with deadlines and obligations can be helpful in motivating people to accomplish tasks. Bad stress usually is associated with a significant family illness or employment difficulties. Chronic stress is caused by extreme ongoing struggles, along with lack of control or meaning.“Stress can decrease your lifespan by three to five years, and chronic stress can accelerate your aging by 10 to 15 years,” says Amit Sood, M.D., research and practice director of the Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Chest pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, pain, heartburn or indigestion.
  • Upper body discomfort. You may feel pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, shoulders, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. This may be your only symptom, or it may occur before or along with chest pain or discomfort. It can occur when you are resting or doing a little bit of physical activity
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Feeling unusually tired for no reason, sometimes for days (especially if you are a woman) Nausea (feeling sick to the stomach) and vomiting

Dr. Sheikh Mansoor Ph. D, Division of Biochemistry, Faculty of Basic Sciences, SKUAST, Jammu

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