The Risk of Early Heart Attacks

Heart attack at young age linked to premature death

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

(RxWiki News) Despite improvements in recent years, having a heart attack at a young age may still mean a higher risk of premature death, a new study found.

This study, which looked at more than 238,000 Danish patients over an average of 11 years, found that having a heart attack before age 50 was linked to almost twice the risk of death among 1-year survivors when compared to the general population. Most of those deaths were attributable to heart-related problems and smoking-related diseases.

Also, women who had a heart attack at a young age faced a much higher risk of dying than men.

Nearly 22,000 of the study patients had a heart attack at age 50 or younger, these Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark, researchers found.

The upside? Deaths within 30 days of a heart attack declined from 12.5 percent to 3.2 percent in recent decades. And deaths within one to 10 years of a heart attack declined from 24.2 percent to 8.9 percent.

Still, the increased risk in young heart attack survivors persisted. These researchers noted that young heart attack survivors were likely to display heart disease risk factors, such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Lead study author Dr. Schmidt stated, "Even though you survive a heart attack at an early age, you remain at an increased risk of another attack later in life. For the same reason, it is important that patients make efforts to reduce this long-term risk by adhering to the prescribed medical therapy and by improving their lifestyle, especially by stopping smoking, " in a press release. 

Talk to your doctor about how to improve your heart health.

This study was published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

The Aarhus University Research Foundation, Danish Heart Association, Kirsten Anthonius Mindelegat, Arvid Nilsson's Foundation, Lundbeck Foundation and others funded this research. The study authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

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Review Date: 
September 8, 2016
Last Updated:
September 13, 2016