Young Women’s Rate of Heart Attacks Increasing

Heart attacks in women under 55 becoming more common according to a new study

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Fewer people overall are having heart attacks, and it appears the rate of recovery after experiencing one continues to improve — except for one part of the population.

Canadian researchers looked at thousands of patients over 20 years of age who were diagnosed with a heart attack.

The study showed that the overall rate of having or dying from a heart attack improved except for women 55 years of age or younger.

These researchers concluded that improved education is needed to reduce the number of heart attacks in young women.

"Seek medical attention at the first sign of a heart attack."

This study was led by Mona Izadnegahdar, PhD, from the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Dr. Izadnegahdar and team studied heart attack patients from all of British Columbia between January 1, 2000 and December 21, 2009.

Their study looked at the differences of age and gender in heart attack hospitalizations and the death rates within 30 days of admittance. 

This study identified 70,628 heart attack patients 20 years of age or older. Of these, 17.1 percent were age 55 or younger.

The researchers found that the overall rate of heart attack diagnoses for both men and women declined over the period of the study.

The rate among men declined from 295.8 to 247.7 per 100,000 people, while women saw a decrease from 152.1 to 128.8 per 100,000.

These researchers identified one group — women 55 and under — who saw an increase in heart attack diagnoses of 1.7 percent over the course of the study.

Dr. Izadnegahdar and her team also saw a 45 percent higher rate of mortality (death) within 30 days of admittance to the hospital compared to the rate among men in the same age group.

The research team concluded that these findings highlight the need for better awareness and education to reduce the incidence of heart attack and improve outcomes after heart attack in younger women.

This study was limited in scope by the availability of secondary patient data such as smoking, obesity and hypertension (high blood pressure).

This study was published November 8 in the Journal of Women's Health.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Frederick Banting and Charles Best Doctoral Award supported this study.

No competing financial interests were reported.

Review Date: 
December 12, 2013
Last Updated:
December 12, 2013