Updated: Aug 16
Recent statistics show that one in five heart attacks are in people less than 40 years old. Not only that, the proportion of very young people having heart attack is increasing by 2% every year for past 10 years or so.
This is happening despite overall decline in rate of heart attacks in United States (thanks to better cardiovascular health care and decline in smoking.)
The cause of this is still unclear and quite perplexing to be honest. The traditional risk factors of heart attack were fairly comparable in the older age group and younger, but the younger group had a higher risk of substance abuse or drug abuse.
Whether substance abuse is the sole cause of increased heart attacks in younger folks is debatable. We think inherited forms of high cholesterol is partly to be blamed as is the rise of obesity. It is also possible that with increased focus of prevention in older age groups we are seeing a decline of heart attack in that population, leading to comparatively increased percentage in younger generations.
Whatever it is , we need to turn our attention to younger adults and treat risk factors more aggressively.
We found that younger people were likely to have more limited disease( that is disease limited to single artery), yet the overall outcomes and future risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure were the same.
What should you do?
1) Raise awareness amongst younger family members and friends
2) Focus on prevention, building healthy habits earlier in life.
3) Set up preventive care appointments in early 30s.