A growing number of relatively young New Jersey residents are seeking medical care for heart-related issues.

That’s according to Dr. John Hamaty, a cardiologist with AtlantiCare Physician Group Cardiology.

“We’re definitely seeing a younger demographic, and these are the 25 to 40 year olds that we really didn’t see much before," he said.

He said doctors are all of a sudden dealing with “young people having palpitations, new onset high blood pressure, obesity.”

Childhood Obesity
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Why is this happening?

He said one factor could be the stress and anxiety of dealing with COVID for the past three years but there may be a more simple and direct explanation that is also linked to the pandemic.

Hamaty said when COVID first began spreading society was basically shut down “and we took these active people who were working and going to the gym and we made them sit at home.”

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He said there is lots of data that shows when people of any age aren’t active, when they are mostly sitting without moving and exercising much they don’t’ do well.

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The more you move the longer you live

“Functional capacity is everything, the more you move the longer you live,” he said.

He noted there is no hard clinical data yet but he believes the risk of obesity and hypertension and diabetes is going to be rising because 35-year-old men and women are coming in “with new onset high blood pressure, palpitations and chest pain, and it’s because they’ve been sitting, not eating appropriately and not being active.”

He strongly recommends starting, or going back to a gradual exercise program, which can be centered around walking and biking if someone doesn’t want to go to a gym,.

Hamaty said eating lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is important while consuming healthy fats live olive oil in moderation and getting ample sleep at night.

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