Every year in the United States, over 1,000 people ages 35 to 44 and hundreds of people under age 35 die from coronary artery disease. In studies of patients under 50, the results showed that more men have heart attacks than women, but women are more apt to die after suffering a heart attack. The two main reasons: women delay seeking medical care and, once they do, they are often misdiagnosed because of their sex and age.
If you are under 40, while age is on your side, it is still important to be aware of significant health symptoms and seek treatment in a timely manner. Living a healthy lifestyle is important to maintain heart health. Here are a few factors to consider:
High cholesterol, mitral valve prolapse and some cardiac arrhythmias are often inherited. They can be diagnosed on routine physical examinations. Be aware of your risk factors.
Know your numbers and keep them on track for heart health. High cholesterol is a prime cause of heart disease; keep it under 200 mg/dL. Keep your good cholesterol (HDL) high, over 60 mg/dL, and the bad cholesterol (LDL) low, under 100 mg/d/L.
Diabetes increases triglycerides, lipids or fat in your blood. Be conscious of your baseline blood sugar level and your triglycerides.
Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle caused by a viral infection. It can cause sudden death in otherwise healthy athletes, such as marathon runners. A rapid heart rate is often the presenting symptom.
Keep your metabolism pumped to burn more fat and lessen the workload on your heart.
Eating fried food will raise your cholesterol and, in turn, clog coronary arteries. Always consume a healthy diet.
Cocaine is a common cause of heart attacks for 18- to 45-year-olds. Drug usage raises blood pressure and heart rate and can cause cardiac arrhythmias, resulting in heart attacks or strokes.
Look out for the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Back pain
- Nausea, indigestion
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness, lightheadedness
For more information about heart health, visit our Heart Disease and Heart Attack forum.