More young adults getting heart diseases

Report released by a private hospital in Delhi shows number of young patients with coronary artery disease has doubled

By Jyotsna Singh
Published: Friday 07 February 2014

A positive aspect of the study is that more patients than before can be managed with angioplasty and lesser proportion of people have to go through a bypass or other bigger surgeriesYoung people in India now risk a heart problem other than the one normally associated with youth. A study released Thursday in Delhi shows disturbing trend of increasing proportion of young adults among patients of coronary artery disease (CAD). The trend also indicates a far higher number of persons under-25 years getting CAD.

The study, released by Ashok Seth, chairperson of Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Delhi, is an analysis of data from patients who have availed services of the institute over the years. Even though the number of women with heart ailments is still much lower than men, their percentage too has increased.

"In a span of eight years, percentage of people below 45 years among total cases with CAD has doubled. From 3.5 per cent in 2004, the percentage of young adults with CAD has increased to 7.3 per cent in 2011. The peak was seen in 2010 with 8.7 per cent of young adults among total patients," said Seth, adding that the major increase has been among people less than 25 years old. "In 2004, there were four patients (2 per cent of the total) who were below 25. The number increased to 206 (25 per cent) in 2011," he said.

In a span of 8 years, there has been a 100% increase observed in below 45 years age group admitted for Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) from 2004 to 2011. (3.5-7.3%)

With regard to data for women, in 1989, only 6 per cent of total cases of bypass surgery were that of women. This figure increased to 15 per cent in 2011. "The absolute number of patients is increasing in all sections, among older men too. But the proportion is seeing a shift. We need to be aware of the trends for proper treatment," said Seth.

Silver lining

He, however said that a positive aspect is that more patients than before can be managed with angioplasty and lesser proportion of people have to go through a bypass or other bigger surgeries.
"The primary reason is lifestyle changes. Along with change in food preferences, sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical exercise has led to the change in trends," said Seth.

Earlier, heart diseases peaked in age group 60-69 years. Now age group 5-59 has maximum CAD. (Blue is for 2004, red for 2011)

The study, however, shows trends from a small section of society. "The patients we studied belong to middle classes. It does not have patients from lower or upper classes," said Peeyush Jain, head of department of preventive cardiology of the institute.

Jain said that some innovative methods are being employed to treat heart diseases. "Vaccination can be preventive. There is definitive data that influenza vaccine can prevent heart attack, so does pneumococcal vaccine. Influenza vaccine fights inflammation and pneumococcal fights pneumonia, both condition which lead to deaths due to heart problems," said Jain.

Change in trends
CAD in India in the age group of 45-54 years is more prevalent than in the US. In the West, the maximum vulnerability to clinical CAD is in the age group 55-64 years.

While men became early victims of cardiac disease, women were especially vulnerable from 50+ years of age, showed the study. From a mere 8 per cent women having coronary interventions in the age group of 40-49 years, the number jumped to 28 per cent in the 50-59 years category.

There has been a phenomenal rise in the number of paediatric cardiac surgeries. From 3 cases in 1988, the number increased to 1,869 cases in 2013. This can be attributed to increased awareness and early diagnosis.

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