According to a new study published in the European Heart Journal – Quality of Care and Clinical Outcomes, the death rates from heart diseases in women under 65 are rising.
Heart disease is one of the major causes of death globally. In developing countries, cancer is the first and heart disease is the second cause of death in the age group below 65. While a reduction in heart attack rate has been recorded in older adults, a significant increase has been noted in the 35 -54 age group, especially women.
This study compared heart disease and cancer-related deaths in women under 65 in the US and analyzed their death certificates between 1999 and 2018 from a national database. The results showed that the age-adjusted mortality rates for cancer were 52.6, and heart disease was 24.0 per 100,000. While 56 per cent of the cause of heart disease death was found to be ischaemic heart disease, 23 per cent cause of cancer death was due to cancer of the respiratory tract or lung cancer.
"Young women in the US are becoming less healthy, which is now reversing prior improvements in heart disease deaths. With worsening epidemics of diabetes and obesity across developed countries, our findings are a warning sign that we need to pay more attention to the health of young women," said senior author of the study, Dr Erin Michos of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, US.
In the 19-year-long study, the age-adjusted mortality rates decreased for both cancer and heart disease. While cancer death rates consistently declined throughout the period, heart disease death rates fell initially and increased between 2010 and 2018.
This has caused the age absolute mortality gap between cancer and heart disease to decreasing from 32.7 to 23.0 per 100,000 a year. "If extreme public health measures are not taken to mitigate cardiovascular risk factors, focusing on high-risk groups, heart disease mortality may supersede cancer to become the leading cause of death in young women," warned the researchers.
Though there is a misconception that women are not at risk for heart disease before menopause, studies reveal that one-third of their cardiovascular problems occur before 65. Due to this misconception, women often receive fewer stents and medications related to heart diseases before the attack.
Strict preventive measures must be taken since the after or menopause situation of a woman does not seem to have much connection with being affected by heart diseases. A healthy balanced diet, regular exercises, maintaining healthy blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol level and body weight are some of the measures advised by researchers.