Youth below 25 years of age and women are at greater risk to coronary artery disease, according to a study by Fortis-Escorts Heart Institute.
In a span of 8 years, from 2004 to 2008, a 100 per cent increase has been observed in below 45 years age group admitted for coronary artery diseases (CAD). While men became early victims of cardiac disease, women were more vulnerable after the age of 50, the study said.
CAD, which is a narrowing or blockage of the arteries and vessels that provide oxygen and nutrients to the heart, leads to heart attack.
"The disease has started affecting the youth. Our studies have helped to identify what ails the Indian heart so we can take prevention and the cure of cardiac diseases to a more comprehensive and advanced level," said Dr Ashok Seth, Chairman of Fortis-Escorts Heart Institute, revealing the study 'State of the Indian Heart' today.
The majority increase in cardiac ailments over past eight years, has been in the age group less than 25 years whereas people in the age group 25-44 years indicated a stable trend for CAD, the study said.
Dr Peeyush Jain, Head Department of Preventive Cardiology at Fortis-Escorts blamed the growing stress, sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy food for this disturbing trend.
"Cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer in India and Asia. It is increasingly affecting younger people and women over the last 10-15 years. The spike in cardiac diseases in the youth is due to sedentary and stressful lifestyles that accompany high pressure jobs. Unhealthy diets and addictions like smoking and tobacco chewing are added factors," Dr Jain said.
"With changing social norms, women today enjoy an equal footing in the society and are working longer hours, shouldering greater stress and dual responsibility of home and career. All these aspects exacerbate the early onset of the disease," he added.
Talking on preventive measures and cures, Seth said engaging in relaxing activities and taking up a hobby is essential for people to avoid heart-related problems. In addition, exercise and good lifestyle with balanced diet can be a boon to prevent cardiac diseases.