‘It’s a grim reality’: Doctors blame a rise in heart attacks among Delhi’s young people on smoking

Increasing numbers of people are suffering from heart attacks in their early 20s because of smoking, doctors have said.

Chain smoker Rohan (name changed), 26, is among those to have been affected and was admitted to the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH) with severe chest pain two weeks ago.

He was suffering from a massive heart attack and doctors diagnosed a blockage of nearly 100 per cent in his left major artery, which immediately required an angioplasty (a procedure to widen the arteries).

Lokesh (above), aged 32, underwent angioplasty two years ago after a heart attack

Rohan works at a bank in Delhi and is also exposed to acute work stress, which health experts say is another risk factor in the rising number of heart attacks among younger generations.

Dr Ashwani Mehta, senior cardiologist at SGRH hospital told Mail Today: ‘This patient came to us last week at the emergency [department]. He suffered major chest pain and sweating. 

‘The patient had a history of chain smoking, due to which his left main arteries were totally blocked. He needed an urgent angioplasty [putting in a cardiac stent] to save his life. Postoperative, he is doing well and still under medication.’ 

Meanwhile Lokesh, 32, who underwent an angioplasty around two years ago after a heart attack, is on the road to recovery after quitting smoking.

He said: ’80 percent of my arteries were blocked when I suffered chest pain. It was all of the sudden and the doctors suggested immediate coronary stent procedure.’

Mail Today spoke to cardiac surgeons across leading hospitals in the city and answers were the same. Doctors say that over two decades ago, there were more patients between the age group of 50-60 compared to today, when the number of younger patients has increased.

Experts say that sedentary lifestyles, smoking, stress and lack of physical exercise are common reasons for heart related ailments. 

Dr Gautam Sharma, professor of cardiology department at AIIMS told Mail Today: ‘Yes, it true that more and more younger patients are turning up to the OPD for cardiology treatment. When we ask them about their lifestyle ? smoking and tobacco chewing habits are very common.

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‘Twenty years ago, we hardly saw a heart attack patient in his 20s or 30s. But today, it has become a grim reality.’ 

Dr Ashok Seth, chairman of Fortis Escorts Heart Institute had similar views on this, he said: ‘Over 10-20 years, the trend of patients with cardiac issues has completely changed. Earlier, we used to see, patients in their late 50s and 60s but unfortunately today it’s more of patients in early 20s till late 30 years of age. 

‘Even in my last OPD, I have seen a 30-year-old patient suffer heart attack due to smoking and sedentary lifestyle.’

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