Posted on Feb 21, 2019, 2 p.m.
Every 40 seconds someone has a heart attack in the USA, and according to a new study published in the journal Circulation risks of having a heart attack appear to be climbing among young women.
The overall proportion of heart attack related hospital admission in the USA attributable to those between the ages of 35-54 have steadily climbed from 27% in 1995-99 to 32% in 2010-14 with the largest increase being found in young women when analyzed across 5 year intervals. During those periods the increase in admission went from 21% to 31% among young women, and 30% to 33% among young men.
There appears to be an increasing percentage of heart attacks occurring among younger populations even though the population is increasingly aging, and the biggest increase is among young women according to Melissa Caughey of the University of North Carolina.
Acute myocardial infarction occurs when a part of the heart does not get enough blood, and heart attacks most often result from heart disease which is a leading cause of death in the USA. Some 790,000 Americans have a heart attack every year according to the US CDC; and W.H.O states 85% of all cardiovascular disease related deaths globally are due to strokes and heart attack.
Data was analyzed from 28,732 hospitalizations for heart attack patients between the ages of 35-74 for the years of 1995 to 2014 from the ARIC study. Researchers tooker a closer look at younger patients aged 35-54 which made up 30% of the hospitalizations; among that group annual incidence of heart attack hospitalization was found to have decreased among young men but increased among young women going against trends in other demographic groups. The young women were more likely to have medical insurance and a history of hypertension, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, stroke, more often be black, and less likely to be smokers.
The study was limited to only involving data from four communities, additional research is needed to determine if similar findings emerge; and medical records did not include information relating to obesity.
Such an increase may be linked to risk factors that are becoming increasingly common among heart attack patients such as diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure which are increasingly being seen. Women are also less likely to get certain types of therapies and medicines to help lower cholesterol and prevent clotting.
Most people think that a heart attack will be like it looks in the movies, but the fact is that it is not, and for some it can be far more subtle. Many are not aware of their risk factors for heart attack and should be more proactive in talking with healthcare professionals to reduce risks. Heart attacks can look different in women who are more likely to have atypical symptoms including sweating and nausea.
Another study published in the journal Circulation found among adults 55 and younger women are more likely to experience lesser known acute heart attack symptoms in addition to chest pain such as lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and pain or discomfort in the arms, neck, back, stomach, and jaw.
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