Heart attacks in younger people are becoming increasingly more common, especially in women. This could likely be due to the increase in the prevalence of the risks factor for heart attack and stroke in young adults, according to Wayne Leimbach, M.D., medical director of Oklahoma Heart Institute.
“This was predicted to happen more than 15 years ago due to the obesity epidemic in our country,” Leimbach said.
Smoking also contributes to the upsurge because there has been an increase in the amount of women who smoke. Additionally, there has been a rise in consumption of fast food, meaning diets have:
· High salt
· High cholesterol
· High saturated fats content
Obesity also leads to diabetes and hypertension. Previously, Type 2 diabetes started in individuals who were in their 40s and 50s.
“Now, there is a major uptick in diabetes in teenagers and young adults due to this,” Leimbach said.
In the past, individuals who had been living with diabetes for more than 20 years started to see complications of heart attack and kidney failure in their 50s, 60s and 70s.
“Now with diabetes starting in the teenage years, coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction is happening in individuals who are in their 30s and 40s,” Leimbach said.
The same is true for hypertension, which is also impacting people at an earlier age. Obesity leads to hypertension, which, in turn, leads to heart attack and stroke.
“The treatment is to move mass population screenings and risk factors for myocardial infarction and stroke down to the population in their 20s and 30s,” Leimbach said.
Screenings are available at Oklahoma Heart Institute, and it’s recommended adults of all ages have their blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugars checked.
Call 918-592-0999 to learn more information about available screenings.