Why are heart attacks happening to so many young people? Despite appearing to lead healthy lives, all of these individuals experienced heart issues

Dave White said goodbye to his partner Vicky and his two young sons as he loaded up his car before a football game in September, just as he did every week, little realizing that his life would soon take a drastic turn. The 31-year-old suffered a heart attack on the field just 30 minutes into the match. He had never experienced any discomfort or other symptoms previously, and he always thought of himself as fit and healthy. He went for daily walks and officiated football games once or twice a week.

 

A heart attack is brought on by an abrupt stoppage of blood supply to a specific area of the heart, typically as a result of a blocked coronary artery. (In contrast, a cardiac arrest—which Dave also encountered—occurs when the heart stops beating unexpectedly because of a potentially fatal irregular heart rhythm.) Dr. Martin Lowe, a consultant cardiologist at St Bartholomew’s Hospital and The Portland Hospital in London, states that between 10 and 20 percent of his heart attack patients are currently under 40 years old. According to research, almost 20% of heart attack victims in the US are under 40, and the UK is starting to catch up.

 

“Seeing young people was incredibly rare when I was a junior doctor; most of my patients were smokers in their 50s and 60s.” “We have really noticed the trend for younger people from mid-20s upwards having heart attacks in the past five years in particular,” says Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital consultant cardiologist Dr. Joe Mills. “Now that’s in their late 30s, you wouldn’t even raise your eyebrows when seeing someone in their late 30s—it’s becoming fairly typical, which is frightening.” What then is the reason for the surge in younger people’s heart attacks?

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