A 38-year-old marketing executive, Manish Yadav, was rushed to the PD Hinduja Hospital after he collapsed in his office. He experienced chest pain and perspiration, which he ignored thinking it was related to gastro problems. The doctors found that he had suffered a heart attack.
Dr CV Vanjani, senior cardiologist and president of the Indian Cardiology Association (Mumbai chapter), who treated Yadav, said, “At least 30% of the people I see in my practice are from the marketing profession. Stringent deadlines, irregular eating and sleeping hours along with high stress levels make them the right contenders for heart ailments. Sadly, we see many young people with heart attacks below the age of 40.”
Dr Vanjani further added that any profession based on deadlines tends to have more employees with heart ailments. According to city cardiologists, heart ailments are on the rise among people in six professions, which include marketing, media, police, doctors, entertainment and people working in call centres.
“People in call centres have erratic working hours and irregular eating and sleeping hours, which changes every week,” said Dr Vanjani. “While for marketing professionals, achieving targets, socialising with clients and indulging in drinking and smoking are the main reasons for heart ailments.”
A recent study by the British Heart Foundation, in which nearly 2,00,000 people were screened, found that job stress was linked to a 23% increase in the risk of heart attacks and deaths from coronary heart diseases.
Agreeing with the findings of the study, Dr Ajit Desai, interventional cardiologist at Lilavati Hospital, said, “Ambitious and aggressive people are more prone to get heart ailments, be it in any profession. The media profession sees many such people. The profession is based on deadlines, people work for long hours and drinking and smoking is common.”
Heart ailments among doctors themselves is also on the rise. “Doctors are bad patients and major contributors to heart ailments,” said Dr Ganesh Kumar, consultant cardiologist at LH Hiranandani Hospital. “Five to 10% of my angioplasty cases consist of doctors. They tend to ignore symptoms, have long working hours and erratic sleep patterns.”
He also added that policemen are very susceptible to heart ailments, due to high levels of stress and lack of time to exercise. While job stress cannot be avoided, cardiologists say prevention can help keep people away from heart ailments.
“A person in a high stress job needs to take breaks from work and spend some time with family and friends to relax,” said Dr Kumar. “Exercise has to become a part of one’s routine. Drinking and smoking should reduce and adequate sleep is a must. Undertaking routine check-ups if one has a family history of heart ailments is also advised.”