When it comes to health concerns, many people associate heart disease with aging. However, the reality is that heart disease, still the number one cause of death in the United States, doesn't discriminate based on age.
In fact, the early warning signs of coronary artery disease, a common cause of heart attack, can begin in late adolescence or young adulthood. The good news? Heart disease is preventable.
Our team at Premier Cardiology Consultants in New Hyde Park on Long Island, Forest Hills, Rochdale, Jamaica, and Richmond Hill, Queens, New York, excels at diagnosing and treating heart disease. We’re also committed to preventing it whenever possible. Read what our cardiologists say about the factors that can affect heart health across all age groups.
Rising concerns of early-onset heart disease
Traditionally considered a condition that primarily affects older adults, heart disease is now making its presence known among the younger population.
Studies reveal a concerning rise in early-onset heart disease, with risk factors such as poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, and stress playing significant roles. It's crucial to understand that the habits formed in youth can profoundly impact your cardiovascular health in later years.
Factors that affect heart health
Factors that play a negative role in heart health include:
Unhealthy lifestyle choices
In the age of fast food, sedentary jobs, and constant connectivity, many young individuals find themselves caught in a web of unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Diets rich in processed foods, excessive consumption of sugary beverages, and a lack of physical activity contribute to the development of risk factors like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes – all precursors to heart disease.
For instance, persistently elevated blood pressure damages blood vessel linings and causes arteries to stiffen over time. This facilitates the buildup of fatty deposits (plaque) in arteries, causing narrowing and blockages that can lead to heart attack and stroke. Studies have revealed early plaque buildup (atherosclerosis) in children as young as 10–14 years.
While lifestyle choices play a crucial role, it's essential to acknowledge the influence of genetics on heart health.
Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to heart disease, putting them at a higher risk even at a young age. Understanding one's family medical history can be critical in identifying potential risks and taking proactive measures to maintain heart health.
Today’s fast-paced and demanding world has led to an increase in stress levels among all age groups. Chronic stress can contribute to the development of heart disease by triggering inflammation, elevating blood pressure, and disrupting healthy lifestyle habits.
Individuals who, regardless of age, prioritize stress management techniques such as meditation, exercise, and adequate sleep can significantly reduce their risks of heart disease.
Preventing heart disease at any age
The key to combating heart disease at any age lies in prevention. You cannot change your genetics, but you can adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management.
Further, preventive care that includes regular health check-ups starting in young adulthood, awareness of your risk factors, and open communication with health care professionals are essential in protecting your cardiovascular health.
Schedule a visit at Premier Cardiology Consultants today for more information about protecting your heart and your overall health at any age.