When you think of heart attack patients you probably envision men and women in their later years. And while this has been a primary heart attack demographic for decades, there is a new kind of patient in town.
Young women are now increasingly more likely to suffer heart attacks. In fact, the incidence of heart attacks in young women has increased from 21% to 31% in the last 15 years. While young men are still more likely overall to experience heart attacks, their incidence of the condition has only increased from 30% to 33% in the same time frame. So what is to blame for this steep increase in young female heart disease?

Poor Diet And Lifestyle
We talk about this ad nauseam because it is critically important to maintaining heart health. People from all different demographics are suffering from heart disease because of poor diet and lifestyle choices. Some of the factors that contribute to young women’s heart disease increases are diabetes, depression, smoking, lack of exercise, menopause, and even pregnancy. Sedentary lifestyles paired with the stresses of work and home are making women sick, and their hearts are paying the price.

Untreated Congenital Conditions
While it’s easy to assume that heart attack sufferers have poor diets and unhealthy lifestyles, that isn’t always the case. In many cases, undiagnosed congenital heart conditions can lead to heart attacks in otherwise healthy patients. Two common conditions that may lead to heart attacks in young women are Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy which causes the thickening of heart ventricles due to enlarged heart muscles cells, and Kawasaki Disease which can lead to an inflammation of the blood vessels leading to the heart.

Lack Of Awareness
Frankly, young women think about having heart attacks about as much as we’d expect them to occur – not very often. In many cases, whether lifestyle-related or due to a genetic condition, young women aren’t getting cardiovascular screenings as regularly as members of other demographics. This lack of awareness about their own heart health is contributing to their increased likelihood of experiencing heart attacks.

The data is startling, but this knowledge also provides young women plenty of notice to make adjustments to their lives and seek treatment for underlying medical issues. By taking better control of their diets and exercise, learning to better manage stress and depression, and getting checked early for potential heart issues, women can reverse this statistic. If you’re concerned about your own heart health, or that of a young woman in your life, contact us today.