Causes Of Heart Attack In Teenagers
Heart attacks in teenagers is a rare condition. In most of the cases, a teenager falls victim to a heart attack due to the following reasons:
- The individual has an underlying heart condition that was present at birth that went unnoticed
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy an inherited disease
- Kawasaki disease which is also inherited
- Use of cocaine, pericarditis , myocarditis
- Use of synthetic cannabinoids
- Being overweight which leads to Type II diabetes and increases in blood pressure and bad cholesterol
- Heavy smoking is also a strong risk factor for heart attacks
- Congenital heart abnormality
Heart Problems In Teens
Signs of heart disease in teens are similar to those in younger kids. Usually, teens who are active in sports will have already undergone a physical exam with their pediatrician that included questions to try and help capture potential heart problems early. However, if your teen athlete complains of chest pain or any other heart symptoms during activity, consider scheduling a screening and evaluation by a pediatric cardiologist.
What Causes Heart Disease In Young Adults
In older men, nearly all heart attacks are caused by atherosclerotic blockages in coronary arteries. Conventional coronary artery disease also predominates in young adults, accounting for about 80% of heart attacks. About 60% of these young patients have disease of just one coronary artery, while older patients are more likely to have disease in two or three arteries.
Because CAD is the most important cause of early heart attacks, it deserves the most attention. But the other causes should also be considered. In broad numbers, about 4% of heart attacks in young adults are triggered by inborn abnormalities of the coronary artery anatomy. Five percent can be attributed to blood clots that originate elsewhere and are carried in the bloodstream to otherwise normal coronary arteries, where they block the artery. And in another 5%, various disorders of the blood clotting system increase the risk of clot formation throughout the circulatory system, including in coronary arteries.
A wide range of problems account for the remaining 6% of heart attacks in young adults. They include spasm or inflammation of the coronary arteries, radiation therapy for chest tumors, chest trauma, and abuse of cocaine, amphetamines, or other drugs.
Each of these problems is tragic in its own right. But because it’s both common and preventable, atherosclerosis is the greatest tragedy of all.
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Cardiac Disease In Young Athletes
Young people who are victims of sudden death often have an underlying cardiac disease that has gone undiagnosed. Athletes are typically at risk because of the continuously increased workload on the heart during physical activities. An athlete is often thought of as an individual who is in good physical health, however, when it comes to cardiac disease, athletes are often taken unawares. One form of heart disease that affects athletes 30 years or younger is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which is the most common cause of sudden death in young athletes. Athletes with this condition have a left ventricular wall thickness that is unusually thicker than normal. In this case, the hearts electrical conduction system can be disrupted resulting in an irregular heartbeat that can cause cardiac arrest.
Other less common causes of cardiac disease in athletes are:
- Mitral valve prolapse
- QT-Interval prolongation syndromes
The thought that young trained athletes could succumb to sudden cardiac death is almost inconceivable. Sudden death commonly occurs in basketball and football players who account for two-thirds of all athlete deaths in the U.S. Worldwide, soccer players most frequently succumb to this issue. It occurs primarily in males and affects 1 in 50,000 to 1 in 100,000 athletes every year. Careful heart disease screening of young athletes before participating in sports can help to decrease the incidence of sudden death due to underlying and undiagnosed cardiac disease.
Heart Attack Causes In Children Teenagers And Young Adults
Heart attacks in children, teenagers or at the young age of 20 or 30 years are not common, but they are seen. There are specific causes and risk factors that can cause a heart attack in such young individuals. Chest pain, therefore, in such individuals should never be ignored and should be investigated with an electrocardiogram or a stress test.
These include factors like family history of heart disease, smoking, high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, diabetes, a lifestyle of physical inactivity, and elevated levels of C-reactive protein .
Elevated CRP levels, per say, are not responsible for a heart attack, but they indicate a high level of inflammation in the body, which is associated with atherosclerosis.
They also indicate a significant effect of the risk factors such as hypertension, smoking, family history, obesity on the body. Elevated CRP levels tell your doctor that your risk of a heart attack is significantly advanced.
Of all the risk factors mentioned here, smoking could be the most common cause contributing to a heart attack in the young age. Smoking also promotes the formation of blood clots, which clog the arteries and block blood supply. Other causes are explained below.
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What Is Kawasaki Disease
Kawasaki disease causes the body’s own immune system to attack healthy tissues, leading to inflammation in the coronary arteries and heart muscles. It’s the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children in the U.S. Kawasaki disease is most commonly seen in Asian children or children of Pacific Island descent, and it tends to affect more boys than girls. About 80 percent of children diagnosed are under 5 years old.
Noncardiac symptoms of Kawasaki disease include a fever lasting five or more days, a rash, red or bloodshot eyes, swollen or cracked lips, a red strawberry tongue, swollen hands and feet, and swollen lymph nodes.
Additionally, many parents are surprised to learn that children can develop high blood pressure and high cholesterol, potential precursors to serious problems like a heart attack or stroke.
Myths That Young People Do Not Get Heart Disease
There are many misconceptions and myths associated with heart disease. Some people believe that children and young adults do not have to worry about heart disease because they are too young to develop these issues. This is simply untrue as heart health issues, and even a heart attack, can occur at any age. People can begin to develop plaques in their arteries during childhood, and this has only been aggravated with the rise in childhood obesity. In the U.S. alone, the number of overweight children has doubled, and the number of overweight adolescents has tripled since 1980.
- 7 most common heart disease myths The British Heart Foundation article on 7 common CVD myths.
- Heart disease fact sheet CDC heart disease fact sheet. Provides statistical data, disease facts, risk factors, and additional resource information.
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So What’s The Concern
Several hundred reports about the inflammation have been filed with the federal government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS; that’s a repository of reports sent in by health professionals and patients about any health events they spot in the hours or days after vaccinations. Many of the events reported turn out to be coincidental not caused by a vaccine. The database is just meant as a starting point for further investigation and not proof of cause and effect. But as NPR’s Geoff Brumfiel has reported, “when millions of people are vaccinated within a short period, the total number of these reported events can look big.”
That said, anecdotes reported by doctors in medical journals and reports to VAERS suggest that both of the mRNA vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines might slightly increase the incidence of myocarditis in young people. In 2003, a report in The New England Journal of Medicine estimated the background incidence of myocarditis to be 1.13 cases in 100,000 children per year.
According to the CDC, there have been some cases of heart inflammation reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, though not as many as have been seen after the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
Teens Dealing With Anxiety And Depression May Be At High Risk Of Heart Attack By Midlife Research Reveals
Heart attacks, many studies have shown, have a higher incidence rate among people with a generalised anxiety disorder.
Ask any mental health professional and theyll tell you that a little bit of worry or stress is not necessarily bad for you. Low levels of stress can help you stay on your toes with everything from work deadlines to fitness goals, and can definitely boost productivity. But if this stress turns chronic, or transforms into an anxiety disorder or depression, then you may have a huge problem on your hands and it wont have to do just with your mental health.
How anxiety and heart disease are linked
Many studies have pointed out over the years that anxiety has an intrinsic link with heart diseases. According to Harvard Health Publishing, suffering from chronic anxiety can change your bodys stress response mechanisms, or what is more popularly known as fight or flight response. Those with anxiety disorders tend to have ups and downs which can affect their blood pressure, cortisol levels and also cause heart rhythm disorders or arrhythmias. An increase in such factors can, in turn, increase the risk of heart disease and heart attacks.
Anxiety and heart attack risks in teens
This study highlights the importance of parents taking the signs of depression and anxiety in teenagers seriously. Timely diagnosis and proper treatment of these mental health issues can reduce the risks of heart disease and heart attacks later in life.
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Prevention Of Heart Disease Starts In Childhood
You may have heard the old adage: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It is sage advice when it comes to heart disease. By teaching your kids to follow a healthy lifestyle, you can help reduce their risk for heart disease later in life.
Although children and teens usually don’t show the symptoms of heart disease, the silent buildup of plaque can start in childhood and can have a serious impact on their adult life.
“The kinds of heart problems which relate to the problems adults have don’t really manifest themselves until much older,” says Ronald Kanter, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics, division of pediatric cardiology, at Duke University. “But the seeds of those problems are sown in childhood and adolescence.”
Those “seeds” include obesity, diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and high blood pressure.
Fortunately, parents can influence their children’s behavior by encouraging healthy eating and regular aerobic exercise, as well as discouraging smoking.
A child born today is 500 times more likely to die of acquired atherosclerosis than of congenital heart disease, according to Michele Mietus-Snyder, M.D., a preventive pediatric cardiologist and assistant adjunct professor at the University of California-San Francisco. “It is very important for kids to grow up with the understanding that they are in large measure responsible for their health,” she says.
Are The Experts Advising Their Own Kids In This Age Group To Get Vaccinated
Yes. “I understand people having concerns,” Dr. Judith Guzman-Cottrill says. She’s a parent and professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the Oregon Health and Science University as well as the senior author on a small study that came out this month in the journal Pediatrics. In the report, Guzman-Cottrill and her colleagues analyzed the cases of seven boys around the country who developed myocarditis within four days of receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
She and her family recently faced the vaccination decision for her 13-year-old daughter and said a wholehearted yes to the shot.
Guzman-Cottrill suspects there may turn out to be a slightly increased risk of heart inflammation from vaccination in young people, but she and her co-authors note in the Pediatrics report that a direct cause-and-effect connection even in these seven cases they studied has yet to be established. And she’s impressed that despite the millions of doses that have so far been delivered to teens, no clear and serious post-vaccination problems have shown up. “The emergency departments and urgent care clinics are not filled with teenagers complaining of chest pain,” she says.
“She saw it as a pathway back to a normal, post-pandemic life,” Guzman-Cottrill says.
And that’s where public health comes in. “We really need a highly vaccinated student body when kids return to the classroom this fall,” Guzman-Cottrill says, “so we don’t see surges in COVID-19 cases.”
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Pediatric Cardiology Center Of Oregon
So, yes, kids and teens can get heart disease and have heart attacks, although its very rare and often a result of congenital heart defects. Still, young people in otherwise good health can start on the road to poor heart health without proper guidance.
As adults, its our responsibility to make sure that we look out for the health and wellbeing of young people. They are, after all, the future. We should be instilling the values of physical activity and a quality diet from the earliest stages of their development.
Children learn from their parents, so its also a good idea to take care of yourself for your own health and that of your child.
At the Pediatric Cardiology Center of Oregon , we provide full-service pediatric cardiology care. Our partnership with Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and the Randall Childrens Hospital positions us at the center of a number of heart-related practices: cardiac imaging, catheter interventions, electrophysiology, and more.
PCCOs focus is on cardiovascular disease and heart health just as it has been since 1986. Our pediatric cardiologists have pioneered important advances in the treatment of congenital heart disease. Two examples: We performed the first Norwood surgical procedure for hypoplastic left heart syndrome in Oregon and the first arterial switch operation for transposition of the great arteries .
Heart Attack Symptoms In Women
Although many people think heart attacks happen mostly to men, heartdisease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. So it’s justas important for women of every age torecognize heart attack signsand seek immediate medical attention.
For the vast majority of people men and women chest pain or discomfortis the primary symptom of a heart attack. However, women are more likelythan men are to have less recognizable heart attack symptoms, such as:
- Pain or discomfort in different parts of the upper body
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea and vomiting
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Heart Failure In Young People
The American Heart Association says that sometimes the heart of a child may not function normally. The term heart failure describes a heart thats not functioning properly. It does not mean that the heart has stopped working, but instead that it isnt working as well as it should.
They go on to list some possible symptoms of heart disease experienced by children:
- Trouble breathing
- Excessive sweating
- Low blood pressure
Looking at this topic more broadly, there are some troubling signs that heart attack rates are rising among people, especially women, under the age of 54. This while research shows that heart attack rates in the U.S. have declined in recent decades among 35- to 74-year-olds,;according to the AHA.
The research wasnt focused on kids or teens, but it does emphasize the point that heart ailments are no longer just something that quote-unquote old people need to worry about.
What Is Rheumatic Heart Disease
Rheumatic heart disease is the most serious complication of rheumatic fever, an illness caused by the bacteria responsible for strep throat. Your child’s immune system can produce antibodies to fight the strep infection, but in some cases, these antibodies can damage heart valves, leading to rheumatic heart disease. Noncardiac symptoms include joint pain and swelling; rash on the trunk or arms; skin bumps on the wrist, elbows or knees; and rapid limb movements. Fortunately, because of the availability of medications to fight strep, rheumatic heart disease is fairly rare in the U.S.
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Teenagers Who Had Moderate Covid
As high school football players across South Carolina return to their playing fields this week, a cardiologist at MUSC Childrens Health is encouraging teenage athletes in any sport who had moderate COVID-19 to consider getting a heart evaluation.
COVID-19 can cause myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle. Its part of the bodys immune response to the illness caused by the coronavirus. Its considered a rare complication, but;myocarditis has already shown up in some college football players who had COVID-19.
Lanier Jackson, M.D., is part of a team of pediatric cardiologists who wrote about myocarditis and COVID-19 in the journal of the American College of Cardiology. They noted that while there has been plenty of discussion about heart trouble in adults who had COVID-19, that wasnt the case when it came to kids. The pediatric cardiologists are especially concerned about children 13 and up because teenagers sports can get so physically intense.
Were trying to err on the side of being cautious but allowing kids to get back to physical activity, Jackson said. From our basic understanding of it, most kids should tolerate having COVID well without any long-term repercussions or manifestations from the disease process. But the potential for myocarditis needs to be brought to light.
We want to identify anybody at risk of having some kind of adverse event happen, Jackson said.