Anuradha Tunuguntla, a cardiologist at CHI Health Nebraska Heart, said today’s adults lead a much more sedentary life than people did even two or three decades ago, which leads to higher rates of obesity.
Tunuguntla also said a diet that’s high in processed foods plays a role in increased heart disease.
“More and more people are eating fast food,” she said.
One additional factor Tunuguntla suspects is playing a role in cardiac disease in younger people is stress.
In addition to job stress, many people in that age group are doing double duty raising their own children while also helping elderly parents.
“Stress is something that’s a big factor,” she said.
Tunuguntla said the data in the article showing a big increase in heart deaths of younger people in Lincoln did not surprise her.
“I’ve certainly seen an increase (in younger patients) in my clinic, and it doesn’t shock me any more,” she said.
And Tunuguntla said she expects to be seeing even younger patients with cardiac issues, due in large part to lifestyle factors.
For people of any age, it’s important not to ignore concerning symptoms.
One of those is persistent chest pain during exertion that goes away with rest, Miller said. Another is a “squeezing” pain in the center or left part of your chest.