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Half of cardiac patients in India are below 40

Sep 24, 2010 12:20 PM IST India India

Mumbai: Here’s a shocker on the World Heart Day -- doctors in India say almost half their cardiac patients today are below 40! More than 2 million Indians died of cardiac related problems last year.

And 23-year-old Pramod never saw any warning signs.

Pramod, who had a heart attack at the age of 23, said: “It was my 23rd birthday and I was returning home from my party. Suddenly, I had a strange feeling that night. I was returning in the train and I was perspiring a lot, I couldn't understand what was going on with me. I thought I was over exhausted or something, but then I came back home normally. When I went to sleep, I felt very uncomfortable. It started with a mild chest pain and a lot of vomiting.”

Pramod dismissed it as indigestion -- a classic mistake. When he finally went to the hospital, it emerged his artery had a clot -- caused by a combination of factors like smoking, hypertension, stress and low levels of vitamin B12.

If that sounds like you, doctors say you must watch out.

Dr Manjeet Juneja, cardiologist at Fortis Hospital, said: "If earlier you could climb 2 floors without panting, and now you can’t, it’s a risky sign. If you could never climb 2 floors then its okay, that's what your body is like. If you experience pain in high exertion situations and if you can localise the pain, it’s not the heart. If it can’t be localised, that’s the first worrying sign."

Since the attack, Pramod has had to learn to take things easy. "The attack changed my life considerably. I began to work in a schedule -- regular meals, proper diet, regular exercise. It opened up a different dimension on me."

Like Pramod, you too can pledge to change your lifestyle today, for a healthy heart.