Opinion: Dr Santosh Dhage
Why the young generation in India is succumbing to heart diseases
Monday, June 18, 2018

The statistics are disturbing. According to the Indian Heart Association, half of the heart attacks occur among Indian under the age of 50. And 25 per cent of all heart attacks occur among Indians below the age of 40. People residing in cities are three times more prone to heart attacks than those who live in villages.

We generally are under the assumption that people in their old ages or those with poor diets, smoking issues or obesity disorders are more prone to heart attacks. Then why do seemingly healthy people suffer from this heart condition in the years when they’re expected to live wholesome lives?

The truth is that the heart diseases don’t discriminate. They can affect anyone. Many reasons contribute to weaker hearts among Indians – especially the younger ones – today. 3 of them are:

1. High-Stress Levels

Stress affects the behaviour and factors that make the heart vulnerable: blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, physical inactivity and so on. And in today’s cut-throat competitive world, stress levels have shot through the roof.

To avoid falling prey to stress, take time out from your busy schedule each day to meditate and exercise for at least 30 minutes. According to research, people who exercise 30 minutes a day substantially lower the threat of heart ailments to themselves.

2. Poor Eating Habits

Stressful lifestyles and extensive work hours have made eating habits erratic. People don’t just consume junk food – they also don’t have a fixed routine to eat. As a result, the body doesn’t get the nourishment it needs and instead, gets stuffed with harmful fats and toxic substances.

Poor eating habits result in obesity, something that’s increasingly becoming common among the young generation. The number of overweight men in India has shot up from 17.3 per cent in 2010 to 19.5 per cent in 2014. In women, this condition has increased from 10.6 per cent in 1998 to 24.7 per cent in 2014.

An effective diet is 70 per cent responsible for a healthy life; exercise is responsible for the remaining 30 per cent. So eat plenty of leafy vegetables and fruits. Eat foods with low carbohydrates and more protein to make sure you don’t feel hungry at odd times and become vulnerable to eating junk food. This will also keep your energy levels up when you have to work long hours.

3. Alcohol and Smoking

Moderate alcohol consumption – one drink a day for women and two for men – appears to protect some people against heart diseases. But we’re not a generation of moderate and control anymore.

Regular consumption of alcohol causes irregular heart rhythms called arrhythmias. It can also raise the level of triglycerides in the blood. Not to mention the increased calorie intake. Smoking cigarettes reduce tolerance for exercise and increase the tendency for blood to clot.

All these are a recipe for conditions like high blood pressure, obesity, accumulation of bad cholesterol and more.

You don’t need harmful artificial stimulants like nicotine and alcohol to live a healthy life or cope with the amount of stress you experience. You can replace these with healthy food. This won’t just increase exercise tolerance but also make you mentally strong to tackle challenges you face in life head-on.

The saying rightly goes, “health is wealth.” Everything in life – your success, family, longevity and so on – are a result of this important aspect. Make sure you make taking care of your health a non-negotiable task in your life.


The writer is noted Pune-based Ayurveda practitioner. Views expressed are personal. 

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