During recent years, the sports world has reported shocking news of players collapsing on pitch due to heart problems. This happened to Christian Eriksen in one of the UEFA Euro 2020 matches and the most recent incident occurred during an NFL match in April of 2023, when Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest at a young age of 24. These unfortunate instances begs the question: Is anyone too young to have heart disease? Read on and also find out about when to visit a heart specialist clinic in Singapore.
Cardiovascular diseases affecting young adults
The answer to the question “Is anyone too young to have heart disease?” is a resounding no. While the risk of developing heart conditions and diseases are higher among older adults, this does not mean that the young ones can rest easily.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD), a collective name for all conditions concerning the heart and blood vessels, is prevalent among adolescents and young adults. There are a lot of factors that influence the rise of CVD in younger people, including:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Type-2 diabetes
- Undiagnosed congenital heart disease
Symptoms to look out for that may signal the presence of heart disease
Because most people think that heart diseases rarely affect the young, some symptoms that are clearly a give away of a disease’s presence may often go unnoticed. The usual symptoms of a heart disease are:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Pain may also be felt in other parts of the body, such as:
- Epigastric region
- Left arm
- Shoulder blades
Women sometimes experience other symptoms like:
- Cold sweats
- Extreme fatigue
- Pressure in the upper abdomen or back area
- Pressure or a tight feeling in the chest
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms in women are often mistaken for a stomach illness, hence it is important for them to get their health checked by a heart specialist to be able to distinguish whether the symptoms they are experiencing may lead to a cardiovascular disease or not.
Heart conditions and diseases affecting young adults
The common conditions and diseases affecting the heart of young adults are:
- Congenital heart conditions
- Coronary heart disease
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- High blood pressure
- Inherited heart conditions
- Valve disease
Angina is a sign of an underlying coronary heart disease. It occurs when the supply of the blood to the heart is obstructed due to the narrowing of arteries. The clogging of blood in the arteries causes discomfort or pain that is felt in the arm, chest, jaw, neck, or stomach. Experiencing angina means that the heart is not receiving the right amount of oxygen when the body is exerting effort physically or is undergoing stress. Angina can either be stable or unstable. Stable angina is an instance when a person is able to know how much pressure will lead to a bout of angina. Unstable angina, on the other hand, is the worsening of a present angina and is more commonly experienced usually at an extended period of time.
Arrhythmia or abnormal beating of the heart happens when the heart’s electrical system is interrupted, which leads to its extremely rapid or slow beating. Tachycardia occurs when the heart beats more than a hundred in sixty seconds at rest. Bradycardia occurs when the heart beats less than 60 pulses in a minute.
Congenital heart conditions involve the structure of the heart which is either abnormal or has a defect. This abnormality develops while the foetus is still growing in the mother’s womb. A baby may be born with several defects. Congenital heart conditions are categorised into two types:
- Acyanotic heart disease – This happens when there is enough oxygen in the blood, but the blood is not distributed all over the body normally.
- Cyanotic heart disease – This happens when the oxygen in the blood is not sufficient enough to supply the body.
Coronary heart disease is due to the narrowing of the heart’s blood vessels, which leads to the insufficient flow of blood to the heart. This can cause an angina or a heart attack.
Heart attack, or Myocardial Infarction (MI) in medical terms, is a condition that is experienced by an individual when the supply of blood to the heart becomes obstructed completely due to a fatty build up and the formation of a blood clot in the coronary artery. This results in the damage of the area of the heart that was not able to receive ample blood supply.
Heart failure is a condition that affects a person when the heart’s ability to pump fails and it is unable to deliver the body’s needed blood and oxygen.
High blood pressure or hypertension is a health condition that heightens the risk of a person in developing cardiovascular diseases, like strokes and heart attacks.
Inherited heart conditions or genetic heart conditions are heart diseases or disorders that exist through one generation of a family to another. Heart diseases and disorders of this kind often appear at any stage of life. Hence, it is crucial for individuals who know that a certain heart condition is present in their family’s medical history to have a regular checkup with a heart specialist to monitor their overall health.
Valve disease affects the heart’s ability to regulate the flow of blood. When valve disorders are present, the heart can be overwhelmed which often lead to symptoms like chest pain, dizziness, breathing problems, and fatigue.
When to see a heart specialist clinic in Singapore
You should see a heart specialist in Singapore when you experience symptoms that may be linked to a heart condition or disease. Young adults who have a family history of cardiovascular disease should check in with a heart specialist earlier since they have a higher chance of developing conditions that influence the functionality of the heart. The chances of diagnosing, managing, and treating a heart condition during its onset can improve one’s quality of life in the long run.
Do note that severe symptoms, especially pains that are intense and other signs that do not resolve quickly, need emergency medical intervention in a hospital.
Cadence Heart Centre
Mt. Elizabeth Hospital, 3 Mount Elizabeth #14-13
Mt Elizabeth Medical Centre, Singapore 228510
Mobile: (65) 8318 9884
Phone: (65) 6369 8789