If you believe that heart attacks, stroke, heart failure, and other serious heart health issues are only the domain of the elderly, you need to think again. Consider this — heart attacks are on the rise in young adults in the United States, and more heart attacks are striking people under the age of 40.
This is just one example of why you should pay close attention to your cardiovascular health when you’re an adult, whether you’re in your 30s or 60s.
To give you an idea of the many heart issues that younger adults can, and do, face, Dr. Satjit Bhusri and the team here at Upper East Side Cardiology delve into the subject here.
Cardiovascular disease on the whole
Nearly half of adults in the US have cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes issues like:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- High cholesterol
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart arrhythmia, such as atrial fibrillation
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Heart failure
While age is certainly one of the more influential risk factors for many of these heart issues, it certainly isn’t the only one. Being overweight or having obesity is closely associated with CVD, and this is an issue that affects adults of all ages.
As well, smoking is a huge risk factor for CVD, and far too many young adults are still smoking, though overall numbers are trending in the right direction — down.
Another risk factor for CVD is leading an inactive lifestyle. While older people are more likely to lead a sedentary lifestyle thanks to the natural aging process, there are plenty of young adults who simply aren’t exercising enough.
Heart attacks among younger adults
We opened this blog post saying that there’s an alarming trend in heart attacks among younger adults.
To explain why, let’s review the primary risk factors for heart attacks, which include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
As we reviewed above, young adults are susceptible to each of these risk factors, which is likely why heart attacks in people under the age of 40 rose by 2% each year between 2006 and 2016.
This same study also found that once a young adult has a heart attack, they have the same rate of future adverse outcomes as do older people, such as another heart attack.
Heart health and mental health
While it may not make the list for major risk factors, we want to shine a light on a lesser known connection to your cardiovascular health — your mental health.
One study found that depression and poor mental health are associated with premature cardiovascular disease. Researchers also concluded that poor mental health is linked to suboptimal cardiovascular health in young adults.
Given how serious heart issues can be, we urge you not to take this area of your health for granted just because you’re young. If you have any of the risk factors we outlined above, we urge you to come see us for a preventive cardiology visit.
To get started, call our New York City office on the Upper East Side at (212) 752-3464 to schedule an appointment.