Kashmiri doctors sound alert in wake of rising heart attacks among youth

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Srinagar: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Thursday expressed serious concern over the rising deaths due to sudden heart attacks in Kashmir valley.

In a statement issued here, a spokesperson of DAK said, “Lately we are witnessing many such deaths especially since
past few months in which more than 50 people have lost their lives. Majority of these type of deaths have occurred in the young and many have died on the way and could not reach even to the hospital.”

Quoting the president of the association Suhail Naik in the communique, the spokesperson said,” increase number of these death among the young generation is really a matter of concern for every one of us in the medical community and general masses. Precious lives need to be saved from these sudden cardiac events”.

Dr Fayaz Bhat,a noted Physician specialist and internist, who is also a spokesperson of DAK expressed his serious concerns about this consistent increase in the cases of deaths due to sudden heart attacks.” He said, ”It demands immediate attention so that many lives at risk can be saved by timely awareness programmes , preventive and diagnostic interventions. As a matter of past experience we are witnessing that the mean age for heart attacks has decreased by a decade or more especially in developing countries. The major reasons behind such heart attacks is the blockages caused in the arteries of the heart, thus obstructing the regular flow of blood, thereby leading to sudden cardiac arrest. Though all the instances of heart attacks that have been recurring in the younger population are not primarily due to the blockages in the heart, therefore other psychiatric or emotional factors might be more prevalent than we think”.

Dr Bhat further added that “Previously elderly patients or people above fifty years of age used to get heart attacks especially the ones with multiple risk factors like diabetes, hypertension , obesity and dyslipidemia but now we are seeing that one third of heart attack patients are young which is really a matter of concern. Excessive smoking especially in young people living with stressful life and depression because of psychosocial reasons or financial problems and family disputes has markedly contributed in these type of deaths. Obesity also plays a major role,Sedentary lifestyle with intake of high energy foods rich in bad cholesterol makes situation more worse  . In addition to this rising drug addiction of substances like heroin, amphetamines and marijuana among our youth is one the important contributing factor for young heart attacks and sudden deaths”.

“Besides this young people including athletes with family history of cardiac ailments like premature coronary artery diseases and cardiomyopathies like HCM are also at risk” Dr Bhat further said.

Preventive measures which are needed include :

1.life style modification and complete cessation of smoking.

2. Refraining from any drug or substance abuse .

3. Reducing salt intake if your blood pressure is on higher side.

4. Reducing weight if one is obese or overweight with regular exercise.

5. Encouraging intake of healthy foods with plenty of fruits and
vegetables especially green leafy.

6. Reducing intake of oils and non-vegetarians foods especially rich
in saturated fats.

7. Avoid unnecessary exposure to cold during winters especially in
early morning hours .

7. Those with family history of cardiac disease or with history of
sudden death in family should consult Doctors for proper evaluation.

General Secretary DAK, Dr Owais H Dar further said,“ the number of patients with central obesity and fatty liver disease has drastically gone up in Kashmir after Covid-19 lockdown as it led to the sedentary life styles as people were not able to leave their homes and couldn’t do regular exercises thereby further aggravating the problem.

DAK advised a slew of measures that need to be implemented starting from establishment of Dedicated cardiac care centers (CCU’s) which is need of the hour at every district hospital and in new medical colleges with augmentation in terms of modern diagnostic modalities like echocardiography machines , TMT and Holter. Staff should be fully trained not only to do timely thrombolysis with better thrombolytic drugs but facilities for temporary pacing must also be available before referring a patient to tertiary care hospital.

DAK further urged the Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education Department. Atal Dullo to constitute an expert Committee consisting of cardiologists and related experts so that causes of these increased number of sudden deaths and Heart attacks can be ascertained and preventive measures taken there of.

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