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Saturday, August 25, 2012

1 in 7 cardiac arrest patients is below 40


Mumbai: An estimated one out of seven individuals who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest is under 40, city doctors told TOI. Today, even those in their late 20s have been known to get cardiac arrests. 
    Doctors blame the frightening trend on rising stress and sedentary habits. What is required is higher awareness. Though a cardiac arrest may occur because of heart attack or a coronary blockage 80% of the times, a cardiac arrest, unlike a heart attack, can cause brain death within four minutes. 
    Dr Ameya Udyavar, consultant cardiologist and electrophysiologist at P D Hinduja Hospital, says in a car
diac arrest, the heart's electrical function suddenly stops. "Because of this, blood circulation stops and if the patient is not revived — on his own or with the help of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) — then it may even cause brain death. It is thus important for a person to understand when to seek medical help," he said. 
    Dr Ganesh Kumar, chief interventional cardiologist with L H Hiranandani Hospital, said most people mistake cardiac arrest for gas. "We get at least five patients below the age of 40 years each month who suffer from cardiac problems. Even if a person gets a sudden excruciating pain in the chest, which is very different from what they have suffered ever before, they call it 
gas and sleep over it. What they do not want to accept is that they may have a heart condition at their age." 
    A young heart is far more damaged and suffers a more dangerous heart attack than that of an older person. In an older person, calcium settles on cholesterol over a period of time and the heart gets used to the condition. In younger people, even if the vessel has little cholesterol, it bleeds; as a result, arteries expand and the heart suddenly suffers an attack. 
    Dr N O Bansal, head of cardiology at J J Hospital, blames sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure and arterial blockages. "More and more women too suffer from cardiac problems these days."

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