A Shock To The System
Hannah Wrigley was just 26 years old when she had a heart attack.
“My heart attack was completely unexpected. I was cleaning one Tuesday morning, and I started coughing rather dramatically. I suddenly collapsed to the ground with the worst imaginable burning in the centre of my chest and a crushing pain.” A few hours later Hannah experienced a heavy left arm and a persistent feeling of pressure in her chest as well as feeling intensely nauseated.
When an ambulance arrived, the ECG read ‘acute MI in progress’. Despite this, it was not until Hannah underwent an angiogram a number of hours later that doctors agreed about her diagnosis, simply due to her age and lack of risk factors. Delays in treatment, especially in young women whose MIs are not recognised, can significantly affect outcomes.
Hannah has since been found to have antiphospholipid syndrome, a tendency for her blood to clot more than usual. Before the heart attack Hannah was a strict vegan and not overweight but says she was an anxious, highly strung person. The heart attack has made her revaluate and reassess her priorities.
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.
What Are The Signs Of An Unhealthy Heart
No matter your age, its important to understand what an unhealthy heart feels like. Warning signs of heart disease in young people include:
- Chest pain
- Pain in the neck, left arm, shoulder, back or upper stomach
- Swelling, particularly in the legs
- Trouble catching your breath
But, unfortunately, you can have heart disease without any symptoms, especially children and young adults. See a doctor if your child:
- Experiences blue gums or a blue tongue
- Experiences dizziness or heart palpitations when active
- Faints when active
- Gets out of breath easily compared to their friends
- Has trouble keeping up with their peers physically
No matter your age, its never too early to start focusing on heart health.
Learn more about your current heart health by taking our free, online heart risk assessment today.
Don’t Miss: Can Gerd Cause Heart Flutters
Riuler Faustino Death & Cause
Riuler died on November 23, 2021, at the young age of 23 from a heart attack. Mitsuru Murai wrote in a statement on the clubâs press release, âRiuler de Oliveira Faustino, a player of Shonan Bellmare, passed away on Tuesday, November 23. I can hardly imagine the grief his family must be feeling, nor the shock and sadness being felt by all members of Shonan Bellmare at the sudden news of his passing. On behalf of J.LEAGUE, J.Clubs, and the entire football family, I wish to express my most heartfelt condolences.â
With passages through the base categories of several clubs in Brazil and currently defending Shonan Bellmare, he suffered a heart attack.
Riulerâs career began at the base of SÃ£o Paulo, then had opportunities in Coritiba, Athletico Paranaense, and Internacional, always in training teams. In 2019 he tried his luck in Japanese football at Miyazaki. Then was at FC Osaka and now at Shonan Bellmare.
Our sincere condolences to his family and friendsâ
Young Adults Are Increasingly Diagnosed With Hypertension
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the biggest risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, just like the trend in heart attacks, the incidence of hypertension is rising faster in young adults than in older adults. High blood pressure makes your heart muscles thicken, harms your blood vessels, and increases your risk of a heart attack.
Recommended Reading: Reflux Palpitations
Ignoring Your Family History
According to research published in the journal Circulation, men with a family history of heart disease had nearly a 50 percent increased risk of developing cardiovascular problems. The National Institutes of Health calls that family history a primary risk for heart disease. Are you doomed? No. But it’s all the more reason to prioritize heart health.
The Rx: Make sure your doctor knows about your family history and ask if any additional screening tests would be a good idea. “Your family medical history is a key, but complex, risk factor for heart disease,” said Dr. Pradeep Natarajan, a cardiologist with Massachusetts General Hospital, in Harvard Men’s Health Watch. “The risk factor will always be there, but the longer you live without developing heart disease with healthy behaviors, the smaller its effect.”
What Can Children And Teens Do To Prevent Heart Disease
If youre the parent of a child or teen, there are many things you can do to encourage a healthy lifestyle and prevent heart disease.
The first? Discourage smoking from a young age. Smoking can increase the risk of heart disease. Among people who die from cardiovascular disease, one in four is either a smoker or is often exposed to secondhand smoke. This means if you are a smoker and stop, your children wont be exposed to secondhand smoke, and their risk of heart disease will be lower.
Next, prevent childhood obesity by raising a kid who is active and eats a healthy diet. Your childs provider can help you monitor your childs body mass index to determine if they are obese.
Its also important to monitor your childs cholesterol and blood pressure levels. While its not extremely common for a child to have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, its possible. And if its not treated, it could lead to big trouble for your child as they age.
Also Check: Esophageal Palpitations
Heart Disease: It Can Happen At Any Age
Heart disease doesnt happen just to older adults. It is happening to younger adults more and more often. This is partly because the conditions that lead to heart disease are happening at younger ages.
Heart diseaseand the conditions that lead to itcan happen at any age.
High rates of obesity and high blood pressure among younger people are putting them at risk for heart disease earlier in life.
Nearly half of all Americans have at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.1,2
Learn about your risk for heart disease and the steps you need to take now to help your heart.
What Is A Heart Attack
A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, happens when a part of the heart muscle doesnt get enough blood.
The more time that passes without treatment to restore blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart muscle.
Coronary artery disease is the main cause of heart attack. A less common cause is a severe spasm, or sudden contraction, of a coronary artery that can stop blood flow to the heart muscle.
Read Also: How Does Heart Rate Affect Blood Pressure
Stressing Out All The Time
We all have stress, and no one wants to be called a snowflake, but science is clear that chronic stress is really bad for your body. “When stress is excessive, it can contribute to everything from high blood pressure, also called hypertension, to asthma to ulcers to irritable bowel syndrome,” said Ernesto L. Schiffrin, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Medicine at McGill University. Hypertension is bad for your heart and stress leads people to engage in other unhealthy behavior that can tax your ticker, including drinking too much alcohol and stress-eating.
The Rx: Exercising, not smoking, eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight are good ways to deal with stress, said Schiffrin.
Younger Women Miss Heart Attack Signs
Misunderstood Symptoms Noted by Women Aged 55 and Younger Who’ve Had Heart Attacks
May 2, 2008 — Heart attack symptoms sometimes get missed or dismissed by women aged 55 and younger, a new study shows.
In those interviews, the women talked about their initial recognition of their symptoms — and what they did about those symptoms.
Here are the obstacles the women had in recognizing their symptoms:
- They thought they were too young to be having a heart attack.
- They had atypical symptoms that lasted for more than a day.
- They chalked up their symptoms to other conditions, not to a heart attack.
While some women sought treatment straight away, others hesitated for a broad range of reasons, including uncertainty, preference for self-medication, a perception of negative treatment from health care providers, and even being too busy to get their symptoms checked right away.
“Young women described a complex internal dialogue as they decided when to engage the health care system,” write the researchers, who included Judith Lichtman, PhD, MPH.
The women also noted that health care workers didn’t always immediately recognize the fact that they were having a heart attack.
Also Check: What Causes Left Sided Heart Failure
People Who Have Suffered Heart Failure Live Ten Years Less Than Those Who Havent
When it comes to life expectancy after a heart attack, statistics reveal something of concern. On average, people who have had heart failure lose almost ten years of life, in comparison to those who havent. Whats more, people might lose as many as 16 years of life, on average, following a heart attack.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
Americans are chronically sleep deprived, and not only does it make us a real piece of work in the mornings, it’s bad for heart health. According to a study done by the CDC, people who slept less than 7 hours a night reported having more heart attacks along with obesity, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, three conditions that lead to heart disease.
The Rx: For optimum health and to lower your heart attack risk, get seven to nine hours of shut-eye a night.
You May Like: Can Acid Reflux Cause Heart Palpitations
Heart Attack Age Statistics
Heart attacks can happen to anyone at any age.
There are certain demographics that are more likely to experience cardiac arrest, though, with older people generally more at risk than younger generations. Weight, diet and fitness also play have a significant effect on how likely you are to be struck down.
Heart attack age statistics are a sometimes interesting and often sobering read. Unless noted to the contrary, all statistics are from case studies in the United States. Please skip to the bottom of this page for a full chart of heart attack incidents categorized by age of the patient.
Could You Be At Risk Of Heart Disease Get Your Estimated Heart Age Now
- The Heart Age Calculator estimates your heart age based on your inputs and compares to your actual age.
- This calculator is intended for people aged 35-75.
- Your risk of a heart attack or stroke may be higher if your heart age is greater than your actual age.
- If you’re looking for more information about the Heart Age Calculator read our FAQs below.
Being Sick With The Flu
Getting the flu sucks in so many ways. But you might not know it can seriously impact your heart health. According to a 2018 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, during those first seven days after influenza has been confirmed, you are much more prone to having a heart attack due to your compromised immune system.
The Rx: Get the flu shot! It will not only reduce your chances of getting sick, but keep your downtime to a minimum.
Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol’s effect on your liver and your beer gut are well-documented, but excessive drinking takes a toll on your heart, too. “Too much alcohol can increase blood pressure, and triglycerides, which can increase your risk of heart disease,” says Dr. Sarin Seema of EHE Health.
The Rx: How much is too much? Seema recommends that women should have no more than one drink a day, and men should say when at two.
Don’t Miss: Can Antihistamines Cause Heart Palpitations
Having Lots Of Children
We all know children are stressful, but science has actually confirmed that women who birth more babies are more likely to have a heart attack. According to a 2018 review of data in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology the more times a person gives birth, the greater their risk of heart disease is.
The Rx: If you do want a big family, make sure to keep all your other risk factors at a minimumand consider hiring a nanny!
Widowmaker Heart Attack Survival Statistics Point To A 12% Survival Rate
One of the most horrifying heart attacks is the widowmaker. For those of you who dont know what that isits a heart attack caused by a blockage in the main artery, which comes down the front of the heart. Based on widowmaker heart attack statistics, if one experiences this kind of heart attack outside of the hospital, their survival rate is only 12%.
You May Like: What Are The Signs Of A Heart Attack For Women
Heart Attack Risk Factors For Women
There are several factors that increase your chance of developing heartdisease. Almost 50% of all Americans have at least one of three major riskfactors for the condition:
- High blood pressure: Women can develop high blood pressure as a side effect of birth control pills or during pregnancy. All women over 65 are more likely than men are to have high blood pressure.
- High cholesterol: Estrogen seems to protect women against unhealthy levels of cholesterol. But after menopause, estrogen levels drop and high cholesterol becomes more likely.
- Smoking: Although men are slightly more likely to smoke, the gap in cigarette usage between genders is smaller than ever and women are less likely to be able to quit successfully.
Additional risk factors include:
- Excessive alcohol use
High Blood Pressure Causes 47% Of Coronary Heart Diseases
As its other name, silent killer, indicates, high blood pressure rarely shows any symptoms. However, if not controlled, it can be harmful and even accelerate the heart attack frequency. Measuring it is the only way to know whether you have it. One should also aim to make some lifestyle changes or take some medicine to lower hypertension and reduce the risk of a heart attack.
You May Like: Heart Regulation Medication
Check Your Blood Pressure
As you get older, it’s important for you to have your blood pressure checked regularly, even if you are healthy. This is because aging changes in your arteries can lead to hypertension. You may feel fine but, if not treated, high blood pressure could lead to stroke and problems with your heart, eyes, brain, and kidneys. To manage high blood pressure, exercise, dietary changes, and reducing your salt intake can help, but as aging changes in the arteries often cause high blood pressure in older age, medication is often necessary. It is not uncommon to need more than one medication to control your blood pressure.
Age can cause other changes to the heart. For example:
Other factors, such as thyroid disease or chemotherapy, may also weaken the heart muscle. Things you can’t control, like your family history, might increase your risk of heart disease. But, leading a heart-healthy lifestyle might help you avoid or delay serious illness.
What If Youre At Risk
Heart attacks can happen to anyone but the risk isespecially high when genetics come into play. Primordial and primary preventionis crucial for those with a family history of heart disease.
Your hereditary risk of heart disease is defined by having afirst-degree male relative under the age of55 with heart attack or stroke history, or a first-degree female relative under the age of 65 with heart attack orstroke history.
When were talking about young people having heart attacks,its important to individualize the discussion based on risk factors, says Dr.Laffin. Its about having an honest conversation and not pushing things offand saying Oh, Im too young, especially if you have symptoms.
Guidelines recommend that people ages 20 to 39 withouthereditary risk have their cardiovascular health assessed every four to six years.
For those that have a genetic risk, its critical to beengaged in your health and speak with your doctor early.
Also Check: Does Tylenol Increase Heart Rate
Making Young Arteries Old
The lion’s share of heart disease in young adults is caused by the same risk factors that cause coronary artery disease in older men. The culprits include a family history of heart disease, smoking, high cholesterol, hypertension, abdominal obesity, diabetes, the metabolic syndrome, lack of exercise, hostility, and elevated levels of C-reactive protein.
The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study put some of these risks into perspective. The researchers evaluated over 5,000 young adults age 18 to 30, then monitored them for up to 15 years to find out how their risk factors influenced coronary artery calcifications, as detected by CT scanning. Smoking 10 cigarettes a day increased the likelihood of CAD by 50% each 30 mg/dL rise in LDL cholesterol increased risk by 50% each 10 mm Hg rise in systolic blood pressure increased risk by 30% and each 15 mg/dL rise in blood sugar levels increased risk by 20%.