What’s driving heart attacks in younger adults?
Growing numbers of people ages 55 and younger — especially women — are having heart attacks. But the underlying causes appear to differ somewhat by sex, according to a new study.
Researchers analyzed data from 2,264 people ages 18 to 55 who were hospitalized for a heart attack and 2,264 people matched by age, sex, and race who served as a control group.
The investigators found that seven factors — diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, current smoking, family history of early heart attack, low household income, and high cholesterol — accounted for 85% of the risk of first heart attack in both men and women.
But diabetes was linked to the greatest risk among women, while current smoking was the biggest factor for men.
Low household income tracked with a higher risk in women but not men, whereas high cholesterol and physical inactivity were linked to a higher risk in men but not in women.
The study was published May 3, 2022, in JAMA Network Open.
Harvard Health Publishing