An increasing number of young adults in their thirties and forties are suffering from heart attacks, which typically occur in older age, according to Associate Professor Pham Manh Hung, chairman of the Viet Nam Medical Association.
Heart attacks, scientifically known as myocardial infarction, occur when blood stops flowing to a part of the heart, causing damage to the heart muscle.
Recently a 27-year-old farmer from the northern Ninh Binh Province, was rushed to the Ha Noi-based Huu Nghi Hospital with symptoms of shortness of breath, sweating, left chest pain and tiredness.
The doctors were surprised to see X-ray pictures of the young patient's coronary arteries filled with blood clots, which block a branch of a larger artery.
The problem was partly attributed to the patient's smoking addiction, a habit he has sustained since he was sixteen, baogiaothong.vn reported.
A HCM City resident who asked for his anonymity was also exposed to heart attacks in his thirties, saying he did not exercise and smokes a pack of cigarettes per day.
Le Cao Phuong Duy, head of the Cardiology Department of the HCM-based Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital, said the disease could now be identified earlier with the help of advanced diagnostic technology.
"Most of the patients eat food with a high amount of fatty substances, but rarely do physical activities," he said. "Excessive fat accumulates in the blood and builds up plaque in the arteries, called atherosclerosis. Working in strenuous environments also easily results in the heart attacks."
Statistics from the HCM-based Gia Dinh People's Hospital show that the number of patients under 45 who suffered heart attacks this year accounted for 10.5 per cent, while the number of heart attack patients under 35 was 1.8 per cent.
Heart attacks of the elderly originate from plaque that builds up in the arteries for many years. With patients under the age of forty, the disease is caused by blood blocks, which form in the arteries due to stress, obesity, addiction to smoking and damaged blood vessels, said Bui Long, head of Cardiology Department of Huu Nghi Hospital.
Long warned that the youth often disregard these symptoms and do not think they can be exposed to heart disease, and thus the disease can be more life-threatening.
Heredity can also be blamed for some heart attacks among young people. People who have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or have parents who have suffered from heart attacks face a higher risk of the disease, Duy said.
"Jogging or exercising at least 30 minutes per day and five days a week, as well as drinking less beer and alcohol, are highly recommended," said Hong Quoc Hoa, deputy director of the Gia Dinh People's Hospital.