Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, Mumbai has seen a surge in the number of people suffering from cardiovascular diseases. Doctors believe such cases have risen by almost 35 to 40 per cent compared to the first and second wave.
Now, even the younger population is falling prey to it. This was not the case a decade ago, said Dr Tushar Rane, internal medicine expert, Apollo Spectra. “The number of youngsters, in the age group of 25 to 40 years, visiting my clinic has risen by almost 30% to 40% in the last three months. Symptoms mainly include heaviness and pain in the chest and palpitations caused due to stress, a sedentary lifestyle and cardiomyopathy on recovering from Covid-19,” he said.
Dr Nikesh Jain, consultant, department of cardiology, Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, said there has been an increase in cardiac emergencies, especially heart attacks, during the pandemic. Covid-19, itself, is a serious risk factor for heart attack, as it causes blood clots in the arteries. The risk increases in moderate to severe cases. It remains high even during the recovery period. “Patients have been avoiding routine health check-ups. Such visits help detect the disease at an early stage and keep a check on risk factors like hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol, amongst others. Also patients ignored the warning signs of a heart attack to avoid hospitalisation. This led to delayed treatment and more complications,” he said.
Meanwhile, a recent survey conducted by Fortis Hospital, Mulund, ahead of the World Heart Day revealed, 53% [out of surveyed 7,863] Mumbaikars have not undergone any health check-ups during the pandemic. 21% have relied solely on gadgets to keep track of their health (BP, pulse, blood sugar and temperature) at home.
Dr S Narayani, zonal director, Fortis Hospital, who spearheaded this initiative, said it is evident from the findings that the pandemic has lulled us into lethargy, thereby impacting all aspects of our life. To ensure the pandemic does not get an upper hand over one’s health, remaining cognisant of one’s health parameters and reporting misleading symptoms is crucial. “As guardians of health, we want to remind you to take charge of your health and that of your loved ones. Don’t let the changes in working patterns, social engagement patterns and fear of hospitals steer you away from living a healthy life,” said Dr Narayani.
Dr Lekha Pathak, head of cardiology department, Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital, said heart attacks in people below 40 years has risen by nearly 2 per cent each year (since 2000). A rise in the trend of a sudden cardiac arrest followed by massive heart attack or irregular heartbeat, known as ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia, has emerged as a matter of concern. These heart attacks are common in individuals with irregular lifestyles, excessive consumption of fast food, heavy smoking, drug or steroid abuse and strong family history of cardiac complications. “With rising individual earning capacity and lifestyle changes, youngsters are becoming prone to massive heart attacks or sudden cardiac arrest. The strain and stress of modern life is also a triggering factor of heart attacks in youngsters, both men and women alike. There is an urgent need to create awareness about a healthy lifestyle, routine workout regimen, addiction and yearly or six monthly full body check-ups to avoid heart complications,” she said.