BENGALURU: There is a new fear that is gripping young, working professionals in the city. When they experience breathlessness or dizziness, they are heading to cardiologists to check if they are close to having a cardiac arrest.
The good news is that their heart is healthy, the bad news is that their stress-related anxiety is a medical condition called cardiac neurosis/apprehension.
Cardiologists say that they see three to four such youngsters, in the 25 to 40 age group, every day. Their fear comes from their stressful work environment and seeing colleagues being diagnosed with a heart condition.
Besides work-related stress, these professionals are also worried about their lifestyle choices that include heavy smoking and lack of sleep from night shifts.
Cardiologist Dr Pradeep Haranahalli, of Manipal Hospital in Whitefield, with over 12 years’ experience, explains cardiac neurosis: The fear and anxiety that an individual faces over his/her heart which “is generally caused when they see someone who has a heart problem with a similar lifestyle to theirs”. Those suffering from this fear do not necessarily have a heart disorder.
Men are commonly diagnosed with coronary artery disease, making them more vulnerable to this neurosis. The medication prescribed for this condition is similar to what is given for heart attack - for example, Valium, which helps in dealing with anxiety. However, dietary supplements can give relief too. “Vitamin C is the best cure to avoid anxiety neurosis symptom,” says cardiologist Dr Kiran from HSR layout, who has over 25 years of experience.
Fear in Silicon Valley
Cardiac neurosis has been on the rise over the past three years along with the city’s expanding IT sector. The lifestyles of young individuals have been changing during these years with little or no time to focus on one’s health. The cardiologist adds, “There is a need for lifestyle modification, especially in the IT sector.”
Lifestyle in this fast-paced environment can give rise to symptoms that are similar to a heart disorder, such as quick fatigue, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat or dizziness.
Cardiologists say that there is no need to press the panic button, unless a person experiences intense chest pain which is over 20-30 minutes long.
Fear for their heart is causing people to switch professions, despite their specialisations. Anju Dinesh, a former IT employee, is currently working in the human resource department of a renowned company in Whitefield. She says that she made the change after her growing anxiety over her cardiac health.
She explains that corporate work can get hectic and that it is usually the employee’s responsibility to ensure his or her own health. “I could not handle the pressure and was forced to move into another department. Although the pressure is less, working hours are still the same and there is still no time to work on health.”
Cardiologist Dr Kiran says, “it is not just the mental strain but the physical strain that corporate life puts them through.”
Move, eat right
Any aerobic activity is a must to maintain fitness. ”Brisk walking, cycling or swimming can make a huge difference to a person’s health,” says Dr Kiran. Food habits are also a cause for concern, among those dealing with cardiac neurosis, with a majority having no time for home-made food.
Corporates can be made more responsible
It brings the question of what corporate sectors can do to ensure that their employees are fit. “While the US federal statistics show a decline in heart problems due to more access to health facilities, in other countries, such as Japan, firms face penalties if their employees are not weight-checked due to health risks associated with obesity. The ‘Metabo law’, after metabolic syndrome, passed by the government, has seen a reduction in obesity statistics to a single digit.” says Dr. Haranahalli.