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Why are there more and more heart attacks among young women?
Heart disease is a common cause of premature death in both men and women. Heart problems, especially heart attacks, are often associated with older people, but according to a recent study, younger women in particular are increasingly affected by heart attacks.
Scientists from the University of North Carolina and Brigham and Women’s Hospital found in their study that the rate of heart attacks increased rapidly among younger women. The experts published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Circulation".
Data from more than 28,000 patients were evaluated
Data from the monitoring of heart attacks in hospitals in patients between the ages of 35 and 74 in four communities in Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi and North Carolina were evaluated for the study. The researchers analyzed the records of more than 28,000 patients who were hospitalized between 1995 and 2014 for a heart attack. Of these patients, 30 percent (8,737 patients) were younger than 54 years.
More and more heart attacks among young women
The results show that the annual number of hospitalizations for young people (between 35 and 54 years old) increased from 27 percent in 1995 to 32 percent in 2010 between 2010 and 2014. However, the increase was even more remarkable among young women: between 1995 and 1999, young women still accounted for 21 percent of reported heart attacks in women, but between 2010 and 2014 it was 31 percent. In comparison, young men accounted for 30 percent of heart attacks between 1995 and 1999, and 33 percent between 2011 and 2014.
Possible reasons for the trend of heart attacks in young women
The study's authors found that two risk factors for heart disease are becoming increasingly common in young heart attack patients, high blood pressure and diabetes. In particular, 71 percent of young women with a heart attack in the study had a history of high blood pressure and 39 percent had diabetes. In young men who had a heart attack, it was only 64 percent and 26 percent, respectively. Both hypertension and diabetes have been linked to obesity, which can be another factor in the increase in heart attacks in young people. Women under the age of 54 have a higher prevalence of obesity and diabetes than men of the same age group, and the trend continues, the experts say.
Women are often not treated optimally
Of course, not everyone with diabetes or high blood pressure suffers from obesity, and patients with these risk factors are often not recognized and treated early. Even if women are identified with these diseases, they are often not adequately treated. Therefore, their prognosis is not as good as that of men.
What role does stress play in heart attacks?
Stress can directly and indirectly raise blood pressure, which could also play a role. The stress that occurs could be triggered by traumatic or abusive situations, but it could also be caused by work, domestic problems and other lifestyle factors if there are no effective coping mechanisms.
How do I reduce the risk of heart attacks?
Women should see their doctor at least once a year to have their heart examined there. When people have modifiable risk factors for heart disease, it's important to respond. This may mean changing your diet, improving your sleep quality, prioritizing your stress management, or increasing your physical activity. The researchers explain that early diagnosis and treatment of risk factors can minimize heart disease in this population. If you have a family history, tell your doctor so he can monitor your risk. Genetics and family history do not automatically lead to a heart attack. There are many steps you can take to lower your risk, even if there is a history of heart disease in the family. (as)