What factors increase the risk of a heart attack in young people? Find out what it is and what are the symptoms of a myocardial infarction, such as the one that claimed the life of Julián Figueroa.
Although a heart attack is usually associated with people over 50 years of age, it is increasingly common for people under 30 to have cardiovascular problems.
Data from the National Institute of Cardiology indicate that Mexico reported a further 27.2 percent mortality rate in 2017. In addition, that year there was a spike in the number of heart attacks in men and women 35 years of age.
Last Sunday, April 9, at the age of 27, Julian Figueroa, son of Joan Sebastian and Maribel Guardia, died of an acute myocardial infarction and ventricular fibrillation, his mother confirmed.
According to Maribel Guardia, emergency services arrived at a home in Álvaro Obregón; however, there was nothing they could do to save Julian Figueroa’s life.
The death of one of Joan Sebastian’s eight children revived the question of how common and what are the causes of a heart attack before the age of 30.
What is a heart attack?
The Mayo Clinic explains that a heart attack or myocardial infarction occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked or severely reduced.
“Usually, the blockage is due to a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances in the heart (coronary) arteries. Fatty deposits containing cholesterol are called plaques. The process of plaque buildup is called atherosclerosis.”
According to the Clinic, “a plaque can rupture and form a clot that blocks blood flow. The interruption of blood flow can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle.”
Alan Ackerman, a cardiologist in Miami, USA, points out that when a clot causes extensive damage that stops the heart from beating, it only takes a few seconds for a heart attack to be fatal.
What are the symptoms of a heart attack?
Although each person may experience symptoms of a heart attack of varying intensity, it is important not to lose sight of the following signs:
- Chest pain that may feel like tightness.
- Pain or discomfort that spreads to the shoulder, arm, back, neck, jaw, teeth or sometimes the upper abdomen.
- Cold sweat.
- Heartburn or indigestion.
- Sudden lightheadedness or dizziness.
- shortness of breath
- Because young people think they are not at risk for a heart attack, they may not go for a medical check-up; however, it is necessary to consult a specialist at any sign or symptom of a heart attack.
What are the risk factors for a heart attack before the age of 30?
Agustín Villarreal González, a clinical cardiologist at the National Institute of Cardiology, explains that, in the past, a heart attack was more common in people over 60 years of age, especially in people living in urban areas.
However, this problem has already spread to rural areas and to younger people.
The risk factors for heart attack in people under 30 years of age are mainly related to their lifestyle. Among the causes are:
- Sedentary lifestyle, i.e., spending a lot of time sitting down.
- Poor eating habits and/or obesity, which cause obstructions in the heart vessels.
- High cholesterol levels.
- Other factors that also increase the risk of a heart attack before the age of 30 are: type II diabetes and smoking.
- According to Villarreal Gonzalez, a balanced diet, physical activity for 30 minutes a day and sleeping eight hours a day are habits that “significantly” reduce heart attack-related diseases.