Why young people should be concerned about heart disease

Heart disease most often affects the older population, but that doesn’t mean that young people aren’t at risk. In reality, heart disease can happen at any age, so knowing the risks and making heart-healthy choices matters at every stage of your life. Here is what you need to know about reducing your risk of heart disease for life.

Surprising statistics

Thanks to ever-increasing rates of obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, risk factors for heart disease and heart disease itself is being seen in younger patients. Consider some of these statistics about young people and cardiovascular health, reported in 2013 by the American Heart Association :

  • Approximately 7.8% of teens between the ages of 12 and 19 have cholesterol of over 200 mg/dL.

  • 23.9 million kids between the ages of 2 and 19 are overweight or obese.

According to the Women’s Heart Foundation , 35,000 women under 55 have heart attacks each year. The Center for Disease Control states that heart disease becomes the leading cause of death in men by age 45.

Risk factors

Young people have the same risk factors for heart disease as older people, such as:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Diabetes

Young people also experience a heightened risk of heart disease thanks to two conditions:

  • Kawasaki disease – A childhood condition in which the blood vessels become inflamed. When the disease affects the coronary arteries, it can lead to heart disease.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – An inherited condition that leads to enlarged cardiac muscles. The thickened muscles can impede blood flow.

Preventing heart disease

Young people can drastically reduce their risks of developing heart disease with a few simple steps, such as the following:

  • See your physician annual for a checkup that includes screenings for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet, rich in whole grain carbohydrates, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables.

  • Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days.

  • Don’t smoke, and talk to your physician about stopping, if you do.

MountainView Hospital’s Heart Center of Las Vegas treats patients of all ages who are suffering from cardiovascular health problems, while our ER provides emergency care for heart health crises. Whether you need more information about our heart health programs or a referral to a cardiologist, call us today at (702) 962-5021.