The first reaction was disbelief when we came across the tragic sudden demise of actor Sidharth Shukla from a massive heart attack at the young age of 40. Shukla was a fitness freak spending hours and hours in gym.
But he was not alone. The film-maker, Raj Kaushal passed away in July this year at the age of 49 after suffering a cardiac arrest, and actor, Amit Mistry died of heart attack at 47 in April. We have seen techies and sports enthusiasts dying while working out in a gym and even doctors collapsing on the treadmill.
Heart ailments were normally known as old man’s disease, but now-a-days, youngsters are also falling prey to them. Coronary heart diseases have increased by 4 times in the last 30 years, but by 10 times in the young age group.
Premature heart conditions can easily be attributed to fast paced life, stress and poor dietary habit. The warning signals should not be ignored because one is too young, as atherosclerosis, a disease wherein plaque builds up inside the arteries, tends to start in youth.
Shukla was a popular TV artist, who didn’t want to get typecast as a TV actor. He was gravitating towards the big screen. His rebellious side in the reality show ‘Big Boss’ left an indelible mark as a hot-tempered man.
The stress on him for performace and stellar success cannot be overruled in his case. We know how an actor has to look thinner within a few days for a particular role.
I have seen a lot of strugglers thronging the cafeteria of Prithvi Theatre spending time from the early morning to the late night on snacks and tea or coffee. Most of them smoke too.
Good nutrition is the first line of defence to avoid many diseases and also for improving the nerve health. It’s important to note that nerves are different from blood vessels, and nerve health is as important as physical fitness.
I’m not going to repeat the oft repeated, heart-friendly tips like physical fitness, healthy (fat-free) dietary habits, no smoking, less alcohol, less salt etc. These have already been over-emphasised, and a person of general intelligence know them well.
But I do emphasise that while staying physically fit is good, it’s equally essential to remain fit mentally too.
Heart and brain though located far from each other communicate via the muscular walls around the heart, which are connected to the brain in the circulatory system.
Mind’s response to a perceived threat or challenge is stress, and body responds to stress by increasing BP, palpitations, breaths, perspiration etc. The linkage is too obvious. So the best condition is to have a cool mind with warm heart.
Ironically I have not come across these young people devoting any time for yoga and meditation. Pills and surgeries including bariatric and liposuction are okay for them, but not lifestyle changes.
It’s good to be goal-conscious and ambitious to make a better life for oneself, but in the process, life itself should not start lagging behind.