Myocardial infarction (MI), or what's more commonly known as a heart attack, is a potentially life-threatening medical condition that's characterized by partial or complete blockage of blood flow to the heart. When the heart stops receiving blood, or when it receives an insufficient amount of blood, serious damage can occur, resulting in symptoms such as chest pain, trouble breathing, nausea and cold sweat.
If you're under 50 years old, though, you may assume that you are relatively safe from heart attacks. After all, heart conditions are typically age related, meaning older adults are more likely to experience them than younger adults. According to a new study, however, more younger adults are suffering heart attacks today than in previous years.
About the Study
In November 2018, researchers presented a study on heart attacks during the American Heart Association's (AHA's) Scientific Sessions event. While countless other studies have been conducted on heart attacks, this one specifically focused on heart attacks in younger adult. It involves data from more than 28,000 Americans who experienced a heart attack in a span of nearly two decades.
So, what did researchers discover? During their presentation, researchers explained that nearly one-third of the heart attacks reported during the study period involved younger adults between the ages of 35 and 54. Furthermore, the rate of heart attacks in these younger adults had increased from the start of the study to the end.
At the start of the study, researchers said that 27% of the heart attacks reported involved younger adults. By the end of the study, this number increased to 32%.
"Traditionally, coronary artery disease is seen as a man's disease, so women who come to the emergency department with chest pain might not be seen as high-risk," said the study's lead author and researcher. "Also, the presentation of heart attack is different in men and women. Women are more likely to present with atypical symptoms compared to men, and their heart attack is more likely to be missed."
How to Lower Your Risk of Heart Attack
Regardless of age, there are ways to lower your risk of heart attack. Exercising on a regular basis, for example, improves circulation throughout your body, thereby discouraging blockages from forming. The AHA recommends 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week to support a healthy heart. Additionally, be sure to eat lots of healthy fats in your diet, specifically fish. Healthy fats promote a healthy heart by keeping your cholesterol levels in check. Along with exercise, you can curb your risk of heart attack.
This study was published in the medical journal Circulation.