BRYAN, Texas — A new study is showing that young Americans don’t feel that they are at risk for heart disease even though heart attacks are becoming more common among young adults.
In a survey conducted by Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, they found that among more than 2,000 Americans ages 18 and older, 47% of those under age 45 don’t think they are at risk for heart disease.
“Heart attacks, heart conditions are more common as we age," said Dr. Lon Young, Chief Medical Officer of CapRock Health systems. "But that doesn’t mean that you cant have a heart attack in your younger age. The youngest patient I ever saw a heart attack in was 21.”
According to the American College of Cardiology, the percentage of young people having a heart attack has been increasing by 2% each year for the last 10 years, with COVID-19 leaving a substantial impact on that very demographic.
"This occurs across the spectrum of patients, even young people. So the greatest per capita increase in heart attacks and strokes that we’ve seen have actually been in the 30 and 40 year old's," explained Dr. Young. "And it is worse after having COVID because it causes inflammation of blood vessels which can lead to problems like heart attack and stroke."
There are many different factors that can contribute to a person’s likelihood of having a heart attack at a young age, so its important to look at all the signs.
“I've seen patients with just a toothache that turned out to be they were having a heart attack," said Dr. Young. People can have heart attacks that aren't classic we know this is particularly common in female patients that they might not have a real classic picture of a heart attack. And so, I think for women and for young people I think they need to be more cautious about saying 'well this is an unusual symptom' but it could possibly represent something that needs to be checked out.”
Dr. Young also emphasized that a heart attack is not something that should be taken lightly, and that those who are feeling abdominal or chest pains should seek medical attention immediately.