It seems the further we as a society advance, the more we face medical mysteries. Recently it has been found that heart attacks are on the rise amongst young and middle-aged adults, a group of people who are traditionally thought of as the ‘young and healthy.’
Heart Attacks on the Rise
A new study has been published and shows an increase across various populations since the pandemic. Smidt-Sinai Medical Center published the study in the Journal of Medical Virology and has been collecting data since 2020. The findings are alarmingly high. It turns out that the increase in heart attacks has severely affected multiple age groups. The study found a nearly 20% increase in adults ages 45-64 and a 14% increase among adults 65 and older. However, the most unnerving information shows those aged 25-44 have seen an increase in heart attacks by nearly 30%.
Senior author of the study is Yee Hui Yeo and said, “There are several potential explanations for the rapid rise in cardiac deaths in patients with COVID-19, yet still many unanswered questions.” Adding, “Importantly, our results highlight disparities in mortality that have emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic and that are persisting even through the Omicron era.”
Researchers also found that before the pandemic, heart attacks were decreasing, but the pandemic disrupted this progress. “The dramatic rise in heart attacks during the pandemic has reversed what was a prior decades-long steady improvement in cardiac deaths,” said Yeo. “We are still learning the many ways by which COVID-19 affects the body, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or race.”
Although they are still comparing data, scientists do believe there is an explanation for the rapid increase in heart attacks. It seems that COVID-19 may accelerate or trigger symptoms of pre-existing heart conditions such as coronary artery disease. We already know that stress is one of the number one causes of heart conditions and other untimely death. Coupling that information with the increase of homelessness and unemployment since the pandemic, scientists have concluded that an increase in Nationwide stress directly correlates to an increase in heart attacks.
Susan Cheng is the director of the Institute for Research on Healthy Aging in the Department of Cardiology at the Smidt Heart Institute. She is also a co-author for the study and said, “There is something very different about how this virus affects the cardiac risks. The difference is likely due to a combination of stress and inflammation, arising from predisposing factors and the way this virus biologically interacts with the cardiovascular system.”
Minimizing Risks for Heart Attacks
Good heart health is one of the most important factors of longevity, playing a crucial role in helping our bodies to function properly. Unfortunately, the increase in heart attacks has shown that Americans’ health is declining. The good news is that there is something everyone can do to help lower the number of cases and death. According to Healthline, there are several actions to take that should, in turn, help to lower stress levels. Although many are a little obvious, it never hurts to refresh our information, specifically when it is backed by medical professionals.
Healthline recommends a number of calming and destressing methods. These include listening to calming music, eating better, and breathing more deeply. Last but definitely not least, make sure to get daily exercise. It can be hard to balance the chaos of our day to day. However, finding time to take a walk around the block or do a short work out can vastly improve overall health while simultaneously decreasing stress hormones. Furthermore, a healthy daily dose of fresh air is good for both the body and mind.
Taking Care of the Body
A better diet is one of the most obvious and hardest solutions. Being on the go, we often stop for a quick meal at a fast-food place. Or, instead, pack easy snacks like potato chips and other foods with high contents of saturated fats, sugar, and sodium. Healthline suggests reducing these things and replacing them with healthy fats and reduced sodium items.
Furthermore, they suggest increasing fiber intake and fruits and vegetables with high amounts of essential vitamins. Those found in broccoli, spinach, avocado, antioxidant rich berries, organic oats, and some fish high in Omega-3’s, offer a number of health improving benefits. This extends to more than just preventing heart attacks. Eating these nutritional foods can increase energy and improve sleep. Moreover, helping your body to feel cleaner and more ready to face the stresses of the day.
Heart attacks are not always preventable. This is particularly true for those susceptible to genetic mutations that cause heart disease or those with highly taxing careers. However, there are many care methods available to the public. These methods can help to minimize the risk of heart attacks and other deadly diseases.
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- Heart attack deaths jumped sharply among young US adults in 2nd year of covid pandemic.” Spokesman. Cathy Anderson. October 5, 2022.
- “Heart attacks on dramatic rise for 25-44 Age group.” KHON2. Sandy Harjo-Livingston. January 27, 2023.