With heart attacks becoming common among children, experts recommend balanced diet, exercise

After a recent incident in Andhra Pradesh where a 12-year-old died of a heart attack, cardiac health and heart-related ailments among children have become a cause of concern
Experts suggest workout and balanced diet | Credit: Edex Live
Experts suggest workout and balanced diet | Credit: Edex Live

The lifestyle in recent decades has left a long-lasting impact on our heart health and a series of recent sudden cardiac arrests prove that we aren’t doing enough for one of our most crucial organs that works round the clock to deliver oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body.

The incidents of young people and children dying of heart attacks are becoming a cause of concern. As per a report published by The New Indian Express, the number of adults living with heart disease and other heart-related conditions has been widely reported, but very few realise that heart disease can affect little hearts too, and in large numbers that too.

Recollecting a recent incident
In a recent incident, Kotiswamulu, a 12-year-old boy studying in Class VIII was preparing for summative assessment exams at SC Boys’ Hostel in Piduguralla. He complained of chest pain and suddenly fell unconscious. When he was admitted to a nearby hospital, the doctors declared him brought dead and identified the cause of death as a heart attack. Heart conditions in children are typically divided into two categories: congenital heart disease, or defects that are present at birth, and acquired heart disease which develops as the child gets older.

While speaking to TNIE, Dr Prem Kumar, a cardiologist at a private hospital in Guntur said that cardiac arrest is an uncommon occurrence in children unless they have underlying congenital structural malformation like Anomalous Left Coronary Artery from the Pulmonary Artery (ALCAPA) or acquired heart disease like Rheumatic heart disease, with or without cardiac arrhythmia.

What can the cause behind sudden heart attacks be?
Whenever there is a sudden cardiac arrest in young people, it is likely because of a disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It is a genetic disease found in one in 500 people hence it is quite common. In a small percentage of these people, the heart rate could go up suddenly and they collapse. Usually, these are exertions but can be induced by physical or emotional stress also, he added.

The second common cause in children is called Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia and also Myocarditis. In children, cardiac arrest is predominantly genetic and high induction suspension is needed. The most important parameter is whether any family member has a history of sudden cardiac arrest, in which case, their children and the whole family should undergo screening, the doctor added. Managing stress levels and intake of a balanced diet with good nutrition and sleep pattern is of utmost importance, followed by a workout.

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