New research shows that heart disease patients are developing heart disease at a younger age.
CBS news reports on heart disease. Experts are surprised to find that more patients are younger and that the patient pool is actually getting bigger.
The Cleveland Clinic recently conducted the new research.
Is this issue in the genes of these patients? Actually the answer is no.
Researchers found that most of the patients preventable risk factors such high blood pressure and diabetes; also this new younger patient pool of people were more likely to be smokers.
Dr. Samir Kapadia, a professor of medicine and interventional cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic, commented on the study. He said, “On the whole, the medical community has done an outstanding job of improving treatments for heart disease but this study shows that we have to do better on the prevention side. When people come for routine checkups, it is critical to stress the importance of reducing risk factors through weight reduction, eating a healthy diet and being physically active.” Dr. Kapadia was also the lead researcher on the study.
How was the study conducted?
Dr. Kapadia and his team scrutinized heart disease risk factors for all of their participants. They pooled around 4,000 patients who were treated for the most dangerous and deadly type of heart attack, ‘known as ST-elevation myocardial infarction, or STEMI’, at the Cleveland Clinic over twenty years, from 1995 to 2014.
When does this type of heart attack usually occur?
It is said to occur when the coronary artery is completely blocked and a large part of the heart muscle is unable to get blood. STEMI heart attacks come with a high risk of death and disability, but immediate medical response could possibly help.
What are the risk factors?
What should people avoid?
How can this be prevented?
Experts say doctors should be relaying the large number of known risk factors for STEMI, including some that can be controlled and some that can't. For example, they say that while there is not much an individual can do about age or family history, steps can be taken to decrease the threat of heart attack through lifestyle changes.
These changes are pretty simple and they include: exercising, quitting smoking and having a heart healthy diet. Many people actually turn to the Mediterranean diet, which has been proven to improve heart health.
Dr. Kapadia also commented on how shocked he was to see that the average age of his patients was getting younger and younger over the years. He said, “What we found was the patients presenting with ST-elevation myocardial infarction were getting younger.”
The average age of patients went from 64 to 60. The prevalence of obesity and high blood pressure also went up among patients. Smoking rates for this group also surprisingly increased from 28 to 46 percent, which goes against the national trend.
Many experts are calling the results shocking and worrisome. Dr. Mary Norine Walsh, vice president of the American College of Cardiology, told CBS News, “Risk factor reduction in the broader population has been documented, so it is concerning that, at this institution, risks seem to have risen over 20 years.”
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