Heart Care Tips: Why Are Young People Having Heart Attacks?

Heart Care Tips: Why Are Young People Having Heart Attacks?

Heart Care Tips: Why Are Young People Having Heart Attacks?

Heart Care Tips: Why Are Young People Having Heart Attacks?

Heart disease is sometimes called coronary heart disease (CHD). It’s the leading cause of death among adults in the United States. Heart disease occurs when plaque develops in the arteries and blood vessels that lead to the heart. This blocks important nutrients and oxygen from reaching your heart.

Plaque is a waxy substance made up of cholesterol, fatty molecules, and minerals. Plaque accumulates over time when the inner lining of an artery is damaged by high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, or elevated cholesterol or triglycerides.

Risk Factors Of Heart Disease?

Several risk factors play an important role in determining whether or not you’re likely to develop heart disease. Two of these factors, age and heredity, are out of your control.

The risk of heart disease increases around the age of 55 in women and 45 in men. Your risk may be greater if you have close family members who have a history of heart disease.

Other risk factors for heart disease include:

  • obesity
  • insulin resistance or diabetes
  • high cholesterol and blood pressure
  • family history of heart disease
  • being physically inactive
  • smoking
  • eating an unhealthy diet
  • clinical depression

According to a new study, heart attack rates are increasing in what may seem like an unlikely group: adults in their 20s and 30s.

What’s more, despite their relatively young age, 20- and 30-somethings have the same rate of bad outcomes after a heart attack — including death — as those who are about 10 years older, the study found.

“It used to be incredibly rare to see anyone under age 40 come in with a heart attack — and some of these people are now in their 20s and early 30s,” senior study author Dr. Ron Blankstein, a preventive cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said in a statement. ”

The study will be presented March 17 at the American College of Cardiology’s annual scientific sessions meeting in New Orleans, and the findings have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal [ How Much Salt The Body Need To Stay Healthy?]

In the study, researchers looked at data from about 2,100 heart attack patients age 50 and younger who were admitted to one of two large hospitals between 2000 and 2016.

But for the last 10 years of the study, the proportion of patients 40 and younger increased by about 2 percent each year, the researchers said.

“Even if you’re in your 20s or 30s, once you’ve had a heart attack, you’re at risk for more cardiovascular events, and you have just as much risk as someone who may be older than you,” Blankstein said.

Both young and older age groups in the study had about the same rate of traditional risk factors for heart disease, including diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking and a family history of heart attack.

But compared with those ages 41 to 50, those age 40 and younger were more likely to report substance abuse, including marijuana and cocaine use. In particular, 18 percent of those in the younger group reported substance abuse, compared with 9 percent of those in the older group. This finding suggests that substance use may be contributing to the trend of heart attacks among young adults, but more research is needed to confirm this.

This finding may suggest that doctors may be less likely to recommend these medications tot younger patients due to their age, the researchers said.

“It all comes back to prevention,” Blankstein said. “Many people think that a heart attack is destined to happen, but the vast majority could be prevented with earlier detection of the disease and aggressive lifestyle changes and management of other risk factors.”

This article on "Hkitnob: Health Columns" is for informational purposes only, and is not meant to offer medical advice.