1 in 5 heart attack patients are under the age of 40, research shows

Reports of heart attacks are down during the COVID-19 pandemic — and that's not a good thing
Posted at 3:40 PM, Feb 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-02 17:57:06-05

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — I am not surprised that young people think they’re healthy because that’s generally been the case – in past generations. But over the years, many factors have changed that directly impact our health.

Now, for this study, more than 2,000 Americans aged 18 and older were surveyed. And researchers found that nearly half - 47% to be exact - of the participants aged 45 and under did not think they were at risk for heart disease.

And that’s not good because research found that 1 in 5 heart attack patients are under the age of 40.

Now, why are younger people more at risk? Well, research from another study points to seven key factors. And these factors accounted for 85% of the risk of the first heart attack in adults between 18 and 55. And here they are:

  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • smoking
  • family history of early heart attack
  • low household income, and
  • depression

Interestingly, researchers found the greatest risk for women in this age group was diabetes. And for men, it was being a current smoker.

The survey found about 32% of Americans aren't confident they would know if they were having a heart attack. 

First of all, if something doesn’t seem right, or you’re experiencing a new symptom that doesn’t make sense, get medical help. It’s best not to use Dr. Google. Instead, talk to a doctor or a healthcare professional.

As for signs of a heart attack, they include:

  • Chest pain or a feeling of discomfort in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, back, arm, or shoulder
  • Feeling nauseous, light-headed, or unusually tired and
  • Cold sweats

Now, the best way to avoid heart disease is with good lifestyle habits. That means eating healthy food, not smoking, getting seven hours or more sleep each night, and exercising or moving with purpose for at least 150 minutes every week. Also, get an annual checkup to know if you have any risk factors for heart disease. Because managing these when you are young will not only help your heart now but also as you age.

The growing number of obese adults is becoming a bigger issue every day. But once so overweight, how does one combat it? Is it possible to be healthy after being obese? In this episode, Dr. Partha Nandi, MD speaks with several guests who have struggled with obesity and are fighting back. Also, alternative forms of treatment, such as yoga and acupuncture, are explored.  Tune in this Sunday, February 5th at 1:30 AM **please note this is technically Monday as it's after midnight.