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BJP Leader Sonali Phogat Dies At 42 | What Causes Heart Attacks In The Young?

42-year-old BJP leader Sonali Phogat's death raises the question - Are young Indians more prone heart attacks?

3 min read
BJP Leader Sonali Phogat Dies At 42 | What Causes Heart Attacks In The Young?
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BJP leader and former Tiktok star Sonali Phogat died of a heart attack on the night of Monday, 22 August in Goa.

The 42-year-old Phogat was visiting Goa with some of her employees, when she complained of uneasiness and chest pain. She was taken to a hospital soon after.

Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar condoled Phogat's death in a twitter post. Just hours before her death, Sonali had tweeted a photo of her in Goa.

What causes heart attacks in the young? FIT spoke to experts to find out.


India's Youth At Rising Risk of Heart Attacks & Cardiac Arrests

In the past, heart disease and cardiac arrests were only believed to occur with age. However, an increase in cases of heart attack in the young proves this wrong. These days, even young people are prone to suffering heart attacks, the Kolkata Heart Foundation says.

"The lesson to be learned from heart attack cases is that if you are an Indian who has crossed the age of 50, you could have a 20 percent chance of facing heart problems. The reason for this can be poor lifestyle and other diseases".
Dr. Kunal Sarkar, Chairman, Kolkata Heart Foundation

In India, incidents of heart disease tend to start a decade earlier compared to cardiac arrests and other heart disease anywhere else in the world. The biggest risk factors for cardiac arrests in young urban Indians are stress and an unhealthy lifestyle.

Heart attacks have been prevalent in Indian youth for a while now. While the total number of cases may have risen in the recent past, cases of the young suffering cardiac arrests have been recorded in the past in India. The difference might be the existence of better information and awareness now".
Dr. Anjan Siotia, Director, Interventional Cardiology, BM Biral Heart Research Centre, Kolkata

Dr. Siotia adds that a cardiac arrest and a heart attack are a little different. He says, "There is a difference between cardiac arrest and heart attack. A heart attack is a blockage of a coronary artery and this can lead to death from a lack of oxygen to the heart. A cardiac arrest is when the heart stops pumping blood and breathing fails."

There is no rule of thumb for how deadly or life-threatening a heart attack can be. In some cases, the first heart attack could be fatal, and in some cases people never even know that they've suffered a heart attack, because it was so low on the scale of severity.


What Could Cause Heart Attacks In The Young?

FIT spoke to Dr Manish Bansal, Director of Clinical and Preventive Cardiology at Medanta Hospitals to understand some of the possible reasons that could trigger a cardiac arrest:

  • An obstruction of a coronary artery

  • Extremely heightened or slowed heart rate

  • Problems with the heart's electrical impulses

  • Infections

  • Lung or kidney disease

  • An imbalance in potassium, sodium, or calcium levels in the blood.

  • Heart attacks can also sometimes lead to a sudden cardiac arrest, which can result in death.

Heart attack risk in Indians starts to rise around 30-40 years of age. In heart patients, over 40 percent also suffer from diabetes. One of the main reasons for this is an unhealthy lifestyle.

In short, these are some of the possible causes of heart attacks:

  • Unhealthy lifestyle

  • Smoking

  • Diabetes

  • High blood pressure

  • Heightened cholesterol

  • Lack of physical activity

  • Obesity


What Precautions Can You Take To Protect Yourself From Heart Attacks?

Dr. Siotia says that precautions against heart attacks need to start as young as possible. Embracing a healthy lifestyle with moderate physical activity, no smoking, and limiting your alcohol intake can save you from the worst effects of heart trouble.

"A healthy lifestyle should become a habit and not something forced upon us. The sooner the habit is formed, the better," Dr. Siotia adds.

Keeping an eye on your sugar intake, as well as your consumption of alcohol, deep-fried foods, and high-calorie, low-nutrition food can make a big difference to your heart health as you grow older.

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