Rise in Heart Attacks Among Young Population: Exploring the Alarming Trend

Heart attacks, which were formerly mostly seen in elderly people, are now more frequently seen in younger people, indicating an alarming trend in cardiovascular health. Acute Myocardial Infarction, often known as a heart attack, is a dangerous ailment that develops when the heart muscle's blood supply is suddenly interrupted, harming the heart muscle. The elderly were traditionally assumed to be at risk for myocardial infarction (MI). It used to be quite rare for someone under the age of 40 to get a heart attack, but now one in every five heart attack patients is under the age of 40. The very young heart attack group had a higher likelihood of having disease in just one vessel, indicating that the disease was still in its early stages and was confined to a small area, but the rate of negative outcomes was the same. The extremely young group also had a higher rate of spontaneous coronary artery dissection, a rare but more frequent condition in women, particularly during pregnancy.

According to a recent study, younger women are experiencing more heart attacks. The rate of heart attacks has increased among people aged 35 to 54, particularly women, whereas it has reduced among older adults, which surprised researchers. In four cities, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities research examined more than 28,000 heart attack hospitalisations.


According to Cheng, senior author of the study and co-corresponding author, adults aged 25 to 44 had a roughly 30% rise in heart attack death during the first two years of the epidemic., which is an alarming result.

According to Laxmi Mehta, M.D., director of preventive cardiology and women's cardiovascular health at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Centre in Columbus, OH, "heart attacks are on the rise for people under 50 years old." In a national poll of more than 2,000 Americans, Dr. Mehta participated. The results showed that 47% of adults under the age of 45 thought they had no risk at all for heart disease, highlighting that many young people may not be educated about their heart attack risk.

Young women had a 1.6 times higher risk of dying in the first year after a heart attack than men do, despite the fact that males have a higher prevalence of heart attacks.

Signs and Symptoms:

Dr. Roswell claims that every person's experience of a heart attack is different. In the middle of the chest or in the upper abdomen, for many people, it might feel pressured, painful, squeezing, or scorching, especially when they strain themselves. According to Dr. Roswell, it is possible to distinguish between heart disease and acid reflux. However, people occasionally mix the two. One of the key differences, according to him, is that activity makes your cardiac symptoms worse. The pain or burning feeling could radiate to the jaw, arm, or back when the heart symptoms worsen.

A heart attack may also be experienced differently by women, per Johns Hopkins Medicine. Women are more prone than men to experience heart attack symptoms that may be uncommon, such as:

Cold sweats


Nausea and diarrhea

Various upper body pain or discomfort, such as in the back, neck, jaw, arms, or stomach

Problems with breathing

Pressure, tightness, or fullness in the chest

Sweating while experiencing chest pain

Breathing difficulty

Unexpected fatigue or tiredness

Clammy, cold skin

Fainting or Dizziness



High Blood Pressure: A major risk factor for cardiovascular disease is high blood pressure. A prolonged period of excessively high blood pressure can harm your arteries. Furthermore, studies have shown that having high blood pressure as a young adult might still affect your heart years later. Researchers showed that young persons with high blood pressure had a higher chance of developing late-life coronary heart disease and heart failure, regardless of whether their blood pressure had decreased as they aged. So it's important to control your blood pressure when you're younger.

Obesity: Although excess weight may not directly cause heart attacks, it does result in other heart-harming disorders including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes, all of which can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries and thus increase the chance of having a heart attack. According to Nature Reviews Cardiology, researchers predict that the number of adults who are obese will double in the next 40 years across all age groups (the rate of obesity has doubled during the preceding 30 years). More than half of young adults (56%) are either obese or overweight, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, despite the fact that the number of obese adults in their 20s is half that of those in their 40s and 50s. By the time these young adults reach middle age, obesity starts up as the pounds accumulate over time.

Family History: Young adult heart attacks are on the rise, and the older generation may be partially accountable for this: The Cleveland Clinic states that having a parent or sibling with a history of heart disease before the age of 55 for men or 65 for women increases your risk of developing the condition. "Knowing your family history could indicate not only your risk of having a heart attack, but also the timing of your risk," states Dr. Roswell. The risk of heart attacks may also be influenced by genetics and culture. According to the American Heart Association, one in three Hispanics suffer from high blood pressure, and half will struggle with excessive cholesterol. African Americans also experience greater rates of diabetes, stroke, and high blood pressure.

Diabetes: Heart attacks are more likely to occur in people with type 2 diabetes. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, having diabetes really increases your risk of developing heart disease by double, and at a younger age. Your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart can be harmed by diabetes' high blood sugar levels. Although type 2 diabetes was historically a condition that affected people as they grew older, the CDC reports that in the past 20 years, the number of teens and young adults (ages 10 to 19) who have the disease has doubled.

Mental Health Issues: Heart problems and mental health difficulties are related. Dr. Roswell warns against ignoring the fact that young individuals are experiencing an increase in stress, sadness, and anxiety. He asserts that there may be a connection between heart attacks and mental health issues. According to a study from 2023 that was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, young persons with depression or generally poor mental health actually report more heart attacks, strokes, and risk factors for cardiovascular disease than individuals without mental health concerns. The age range of the over 60,000 young adults in the study sample was 18 to 49.

Substance Abuse: The use of cocaine and marijuana is another potential risk factor for the rise in heart attacks among younger persons. Researchers from the American College of Cardiology found that the youngest heart attack patients were more likely to reveal substance usage, including marijuana and cocaine. Heart failure treatments are also linked to opiate, alcohol, and methamphetamine usage.

COVID-19 and Heart Attack:

A February 2022 research of more than 150,000 people with COVID-19 found that the probability of having a heart issue, even a year after the infection, is "substantial," independent of how severe the initial symptoms were. Even those without any additional heart disease risk factors are at increased risk.

A September 2022 investigation by Cedars Sinai hospital in Los Angeles found that heart attack deaths in all age categories have increased in the U.S. since the COVID-19 epidemic occurred. People aged 25 to 44, for whom the rate of heart attack death increased relatively throughout the first two years of the pandemic by 29.9% (i.e., the actual rate of heart attack deaths was over 30% higher than the anticipated rate).

Physician-scientist Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis predicted that approximately 4% of COVID-19 carriers will experience a heart issue, such as an irregular heartbeat, heart failure, inflammation, or a heart attack. Al-Aly further noted that with each COVID-19 infection, a person's chance of prolonged COVID, including heart issues, rises. As a result, Latino and Black groups, which have greater rates of reinfection, are particularly at risk for heart issues after COVID. Heart attack deaths were decreasing before the COVID-19 outbreak, but the data from Cedars Sinai suggests that the trend has been reversed.


Preventing the progression of heart attack risk factors before they become issues is the greatest strategy to avoid having a heart attack. The situation will improve the earlier you act. That includes making efforts to alter the social and environmental factors that have an impact on your heart health.

These include implementing the following:

More physical activity: According to the American Heart Association, getting 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise can lower your risk of developing heart disease.

Maintain a healthy weight: Blood pressure and cholesterol levels can be significantly lowered by losing just five excess pounds. Try to maintain a body mass index (BMI) between 20 and 25.

Eat healthy foods: A heart-healthy diet has several health advantages for your body. Additionally, there are many delightful items on the list of suggested foods.

Control your stress and blood pressure: It's good for your heart to learn stress management techniques.

Stop smoking

Learn the heart history of your family: Although your genetics are unchangeable, understanding them is essential to taking the appropriate precautions to address any potential cardiac issues.

by Bhavleen Kaur Sethi