Coronary heart disease in young women on the rise



Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a condition wherein the arteries supplying blood to the heart get constricted, leading to angina pectoris (chest pains) and myocardial infarction (heart attacks). Constriction of the arteries is brought about by fatty deposits on the waal sof the arteries.

CHD is the most common cause of mortality in developed countries including the UK, the US, Canada and Australia. According to the statistics from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, 42.7 million American women had cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 2005. 7.3 million of these cases were due to CHD, including heart attack and angina pectoris. According to the European Heart Network, CVD is the main cause of women’s deaths all European countries. 22% of total deaths among European women were due to CHD.

It used to be that young women are not your usual candidate for CHD. Female hormones afford premenopausal women protection against heart disease. However, there is a trend of CHD increase among women below 50.

Researchers in the UK looked at CHD mortality rates in England and Wales between 1931 and 2005. They found that the rates peaked in the 1970s and then declined and is still declining. However, this decline seems to be slowing down and reaching a plateau, with the tendency of reversing among women aged 50 years and below. This trend is also observed in many developed countries including Australia and the US.

According to the researchers, the following trends in the lifestyle of young people 45 years old and below are probably contributing to the CVD risk factors:

  • Obesity has been on the rise for more than 10 years.
  • The same trend has been observed for type 2 diabetes.
  • There has been a slight decrease in physical activity levels in this age group during the last 15 years.
  • The incidence of smoking has always been high and remains so. About 25% of men and 20% of women under 45 are smokers.

Other disturbing statistics from the European Heart Network are:

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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