In a study of 15,000 heart attack cases in Singapore, cardiac investigators from National University Heart Centre, Singapore, National Heart Centre Singapore, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Changi General Hospital and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, have found that heart attack occurring before 40 years of age in Singapore is uncommon. Of the 15,000 patients studied, 601 cases (approximately 4%) of heart attack patients were less than 40 years of age.
While patients under 40 years of age with heart attacks are less likely to die of a heart attack than their older counterparts, ours is the first study to show that young people with a heart attack have a significantly higher chance of dying compared with other young people of the same age. This increased risk of dying emerges as early as 7 – 8 years after the heart attack occurs and worsens progressively from 8 years onwards. This means that young persons with a heart attack have a significantly shorter life span than young people in general.
Prominent risk factors for young heart attack patients are:
1) Family history of coronary heart disease and
It is important for young persons with a family history of coronary heart disease go for early health screening for high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and diabetes, and get these treated early. This study also serves to caution the young of the harmful effects of smoking and further reinforces that there is no ‘safe’ level of smoking. It is an illusion to think that smoking will not cause major harm to young people.
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