Heart attacks are commonly associated with older people or those with underlying health conditions.
This belief, however, may mean that younger people miss symptoms or do not see the need to have a heart check in the first place.
In recent years, the risk of heart attacks in young people has risen. It is not a well-known statistic but very sadly twelve fit and well young people die from Young, Sudden Cardiac Death (YSCD) every week in the UK.
This phenomenon is not restricted to the UK either. Heart attacks in those under 40 is on the rise in a variety of countries.
In this article, we will discuss the risk to young people and what can be done to improve heart health and encourage a long and healthy life.
If you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one and you are looking for a cardiologist in Merseyside, Manchester, or Chester, then Venturi Cardiology is in close proximity to all three regions, with easy access from the M62 and M6.
Heart attacks in the 20-30 age range
Heart attacks suffered by young adults are becoming more and more common. Whereas they used to be a problem faced by those over sixty-five, now 1 in 5 heart attack patients are below the age of 40, and it is becoming more common for those between the ages of 20-30 to suffer an attack.
Unfortunately, the consequences of such an attack are not mitigated by youth. Younger patients still face the same after-effects and risks. For example, after your first heart attack, whatever your age, you may go on to have a second major heart attack which could prove fatal. Having age on your side does not preclude a second heart event.
Why is the risk increasing?
So, why are heart attacks becoming more prevalent in young adults? Three possible answers are:
Those that have diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from heart disease. For people living with diabetes, blood sugar isn’t sufficiently well controlled by the body and often falls outside of a healthy range. If sugar levels get too high, they can damage blood vessels, which heightens the chance of fat deposits causing atherosclerosis in your arteries.
Diabetes also commonly leads to high cholesterol and higher blood pressure. There were nearly 7,000 children and young adults with Type 2 diabetes in the UK in 2018, and the global prevalence of the disease is on the rise for adolescents.
Diabetes is often linked to obesity. 34% of children in the UK are overweight and continue to carry this weight into their adulthood. So it is no surprise that the risk of heart diseases in young people is also increasing.
Young adults are also being diagnosed with hypertension more frequently. Almost half of all adults above the age of 20 have elevated or high blood pressure. Hypertension can slowly damage your body over time and increase the risk of developing severe heart conditions.
Again, high blood pressure can be linked to diet. Obesity increases heart pressure, as does a high level of salt. Eating healthily, limiting alcohol, and getting plenty of exercise are the best ways to keep blood pressure down and avoid a diagnosis of hypertension.
- Cigarettes and vaping
Smoking or vaping are major heart health risks. Smoking one pack a day doubles your risk of heart attack, no matter how old you are.
How can young adults reduce their risk of a heart attack?
Your heart health and general well-being should be taken seriously. It is important to remember that just because you or a loved one might be young, the risk of a severe or even fatal heart attack can increase significantly with poor lifestyle choices.
The best ways to avoid a heart attack and to protect your heart and arteries from damage is to:
- Avoid smoking and vaping
- Avoid substance abuse
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Avoid consuming too much salt
- Lose weight if you are currently overweight
You should also familiarise yourself with potential heart disease symptoms and visit a cardiologist if you have any concerns. If you suffer any palpitations or have a relative with an underlying heart condition, it is vital to get a regular check-up with a doctor you trust.
If you are looking for a Cardiologist in Merseyside, Manchester, Chester or elsewhere in the Northwest, then look no further. As mentioned above, Venturi Cardiology is based in Birchwood, Warrington, in the heart of the Northwest with easy access to all of the aforementioned areas. Get in touch today with our friendly experts at Venturi Cardiology if you have any concerns. Venturi looks after patients of all ages helping them to more accurately understand their heart health risk profile.