‘We’re moving in the wrong direction’: Why younger people are having more heart attacks

Despite a decades-long decline in the rate of heart attacks among older people in the U.S., younger men in their twenties and thirties are presenting more often with MI, Men’s Health reports.

According to reporter Peter Moore, the number of MI victims under 40 has been rising steadily for the past 20 years or so, driven by higher rates of atherosclerosis, arterial damage and blockages in patients as young as teenagers. Scientists have a handful of theories that might explain the recent jump, including the fact that younger patients are more likely to ignore obvious heart attack symptoms due to their age.

There’s also the issue of stress—an American Psychological Association survey found that 22- to 39-year-olds are the most stressed-out generation living today. Mounting pressure, coupled with the ever-growing obesity and vaping epidemics, have put millennials in a risky position.

“It used to be incredibly rare to see anyone under age 40 come in with a heart attack—and some of these people are now in their 20s and early 30s,” Ron Blankstein, MD, a preventive cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told Moore. “Based on what we’re seeing, we’re moving in the wrong direction.”

Read the full report from Men’s Health below: