Baptist cardiologist urges millennials to care for their heart health sooner than later

Dec 13, 2021

Most young adults in their 20s aren’t concerned with life-threatening illnesses. But recent studies indicate that they should take precautions now when it comes to heart disease. Research reported in the Advisory Board and The Lancet journal last year showed that one-third of millennials (those born between 1982 and 1994) suffer from a health condition that will lower their life expectancy and quality of life. They also had higher incidences of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, which can all lead to heart disease, the No. 1 killer of men and women in America.

millennial-woman-at-computerRajiv Paudel, M.D., a board-certified cardiologist who practices at Mission Trail Baptist Hospital, is encouraging young people to take time out of their day to monitor their wellness and ask questions about their cardiovascular health. Recent surveys showed that millennials reported not having enough time to focus on their health, with 93 percent saying they didn’t schedule preventive health check-ups.

“I am seeing much younger patients in my clinic with high cholesterol and hypertension,” Dr. Paudel said.

Dr. Paudel’s patient Bianca Salazar was just 31 years old and expecting her first child when she learned her blood pressure was dangerously high. After giving birth to her daughter, Salazar said she had to remain in the hospital for a week until doctors could safely lower her blood pressure.

“I think a lot of young people are coasting along in life not knowing that things could be creeping up on them if they aren’t careful with their heart health,” Salazar said.

Dr. Paudel agrees. “A sedentary lifestyle that may include sitting at a desk all day at work followed by sitting on a couch watching TV or playing video games at home is contributing to these health problems,” he said. “You’re never too young to ask about heart disease because it is no longer considered an old person’s disease. It’s more common now at any age,” he said. Dr. Paudel suggests younger generations incorporate more exercise in their daily routine and select healthy food choices including vegetables and fruits. “Avoid fatty, high carbohydrate and sugar-laden foods, don’t smoke and curb alcohol intake,” he said. “Making good lifestyle choices early on in life along with seeing a doctor regularly can help turn the tide for a generation that is at risk,” Dr. Paudel said.   (Additional source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Pull quote:
“You’re never too young to ask about and receive help for heart disease because it is no longer considered an old person’s disease. It’s more common now at any age.” – Rajiv Paudel, M.D., cardiologist

View the ABC affiliate KSAT-TV new story featuring Dr. Paudel on this topic.

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