Heart Disease Is Becoming More Common Among Younger Adults

Heart disease has been the leading cause of death, in America, for many years.  And, as such, new advances medical and therapeutic practice has developed new interventions that managed to drive down the cardiovascular-related deaths.  In fact, these advancements have been successful enough to slow and even reverse the trend, recently, in most populations.

One population that has not seen a decline, however, is younger adults.  That would make sense, since cardiovascular disease tends to afflict older adults, so we would not expect to see a dramatic decline in this statistic among younger adults. However, we are seeing quite the opposite:  heart-failure-related cardiovascular death rates among this group (between the ages of 35 and 64) has been on the rise over the past ten years.  Furthermore, the most dramatic increases were among African-Americans. 

With that, researchers suggest that the increases may be due, at least in part, to the growing instances of obesity and Type-2 diabetes.  Actually, study co-author Dr. Sadiya Khan advises that the prevalence of these two things, alone, are “outweighing the progress we’ve made,” with medications, surgical procedures, and other treatments. 

The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine assistant professor of cardiology and preventive medicine reminds that obesity and T2 Diabetes are two common risk factors for heart failure (among other heart problems), even among the younger generation.  Actually almost 40 percent of American adults are considered obese with nearly 10 percent of the population diagnosed with diabetes.  

On top of this, black adults are more vulnerable to developing both obesity and type-2 diabetes.  Also, Khan says, high blood pressure—which is also a heart failure risk factor—is quite common among black men.  However, “Young black men are dying of heart failure because of uncontrolled, unrecognized, or under-treated hypertension.”

All this in mind, then, health experts continue to emphasize the importance of healthy living. Everyone, regardless of age, gender, and race can reduce risk for heart disease by eating a nutritious diet and getting regular exercise.  Whole grains, nuts, and healthy fats (olive oil) are easy dietary choices you can make that will have immense benefit to your heart.  In terms of exercise, you only need between 75 and 150 minutes of exercise—depending on intensity—every week to protect yourself from many chronic diseases.

The results of this study have been published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.