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Recognize the risk of heart attack at a young age

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Jakarta, IO – The heart is an organ that never rests. The heart functions to pump blood and nutrients to all organs to support their normal functions, maintaining blood circulation and ensuring the delivery of oxygen-rich blood to all organs of the body. 

A heart attack may occur when the blood flow that carries oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle is interrupted or halts. This condition may be caused by the process of atherosclerosis, namely, the buildup of fat, cholesterol, and other substances (plaque) which causes narrowing of the heart’s blood vessels. 

“Other terms for heart attack are myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease, coronary artery disease, ischemic heart disease, or angina pectoris because the most common complaint is pain. Heart attacks can affect young people; epidemiologically, cardiovascular disease is the main cause of death globally. 2019 data: 17 million deaths under the age of 70 were caused by non-communicable diseases, 38% due to cardiovascular disease. The trend for young patients under 45 years of age due to lack of physical activity and obesity since childhood and adolescence,” said Dr. dr. Sally Aman Nasution, Sp.PD-KKV, FINASIM, FACP, in a media briefing held by the Executive Board of the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) with the topic “Recognizing the Risk of Heart Attack at a Young Age” on Tuesday (28/11/2023). 

Dr. dr. Sally Aman Nasution, Sp.PD-KKV, FINASIM, FACP
Dr. dr. Sally Aman Nasution, Sp.PD-KKV, FINASIM, FACP (Source: Prive. Doc.)

Eight Preventive Steps 

The Chairman of the Indonesian Society of Internal Medicine (PAPDI) added that the risk factors for coronary heart attacks are mainly an unhealthy lifestyle and smoking. Smoking habits have a significant relationship with the incidence of coronary heart disease, causing a 2.4-fold increase in people under 45 years of age. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, dyslipidemia, diabetes and obesity. An increase in triglyceride levels greater than 150 mg/dl and fasting blood sugar levels greater than 126 mg/dl increases the risk of coronary heart disease 2.8 times and 4.1 times greater in the same age group. 

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“Risk factors are divided into two: those that cannot be changed, namely age, gender and heredity, while those that can be changed include unhealthy diet, lack of sleep, excessive alcohol consumption and stress. Get screened for heart disease immediately if there are risk factors. Apart from that, recognize the signs or warnings of a heart attack in the form of pain or discomfort in the chest, light headache, nausea, or wanting to vomit, pain can also be felt in the jaw, neck, back, arms or shoulders, in addition to shortness of breath. By recognizing a heart attack, we can save lives because delaying can cause more severe muscle damage, even death,” she added. 

To avoid a heart attack, adopt eight preventative steps: know your risk, eat a healthy diet, be physically active, watch your weight, stay tobacco-free, manage your condition, take your medicine, and be a team player. Your healthcare team can help you build a prevention plan that works for you. Make decisions together, and ask questions. Talk about challenges in your life that may affect your health such as stress, sleep, mental health, family situation, tobacco use, food access, and social support. (est)

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