Heart disease deaths rising in young women

February 10, 2021

Sophia Antipolis, 10 February 2021: A nationwide US study has found increasing death rates from heart disease in women under 65. The research is published in European Heart Journal - Quality of Care and Clinical Outcomes, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).1 The study found that while death rates from cancer declined every year between 1999 and 2018, after an initial drop, heart disease death rates have been rising since 2010.

"Young women in the US are becoming less healthy, which is now reversing prior improvements in heart disease deaths," said senior author Dr. Erin Michos of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, US. "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."

"Women frequently put others' health and needs before their own, often caring for children and parents and working full-time," continued Dr. Michos. "But if they have a fatal heart attack, they won't be there for loved ones. Women must prioritise their own health, especially since heart disease is largely preventable."

Heart disease is the main cause of death worldwide. In the age group under-65 in developed countries, most deaths are due to cancer and heart disease is the second reason. This study compared heart disease- and cancer-related deaths in women under 65 in the US. The researchers analysed death certificates between 1999 and 2018 from a national database.2

During the 19-year period, the age-adjusted mortality rates for cancer and heart disease were 52.6 and 24.0 per 100,000, respectively. The most common cause of heart disease death was ischaemic heart disease (56%) while respiratory tract/lung cancer (23%) was the leading cause of cancer death.

Across the entire study period, age-adjusted mortality rates decreased for both cancer and heart disease. But while cancer death rates consistently declined throughout the 19 years, heart disease death rates fell initially and then increased between 2010 and 2018. As a result, the absolute mortality gap between cancer and heart disease significantly decreased from 32.7 to 23.0 per 100,000/year. The authors said: "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."

First author Dr. Safi Khan of West Virginia University, Morgantown, US said: "More intensive efforts are needed to prevent and treat heart disease in young women to reverse the upsurge in deaths."

Dr. Michos said: "There is a misconception that women are not at risk for heart disease before the menopause, yet one-third of their cardiovascular problems occur before 65.3 Studies of young heart attack patients show that compared to men, women were less likely than to have been told they were at risk for heart disease before the attack4 and less often received stents and medications."5

She concluded: "Most heart disease can be avoided with a healthy balanced diet, physical activity, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol level and body weight. Just because a woman is before the menopause does not mean she is not at risk. Unfortunately, the first attack can be fatal, so we need to do better with prevention."
-end-
Authors: ESC Press Office
Tel: +33 (0)4 89 87 20 85
Mobile: +33 (0)7 8531 2036
Email: press@escardio.org

Follow us on Twitter @ESCardioNews

Funding: Dr. Michos is supported by the Amato Fund for Women's Cardiovascular Health research at Johns Hopkins University.

Disclosures: None.

Notes

References

1Khan SU, Yedlpati SH, Lone AN, et al. A comparative analysis of premature heart disease- and cancer-related mortality in women in the USA, 1999-2018. Eur Heart J Qual Care Clin Outcomes. 2021.
doi:10.1093/ehjqcco/qcaa099.
Link: https://academic.oup.com/ehjqcco/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/ehjqcco/qcaa099/6130732?redirectedFrom=fulltext

2The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER) database contains the assigned cause of mortality from all death certificates in the US.

3Sniderman AD, Thanassoulis G, Williams K, et al. Risk of Premature Cardiovascular Disease vs the Number of Premature Cardiovascular Events. JAMA Cardiol. 2016;1:492-494.

4Bucholz EM, Strait KM, Dreyer RP, et al. Sex Differences in Young Patients with Acute Myocardial Infarction: A VIRGO Study Analysis. Eur Heart J Acute Cardiovasc Care. 2017;6:610-622.

5DeFilippis EM, Collins BL, Singh A, et al. Women who experience a myocardial infarction at a young age have worse outcomes compared with men: the Mass General Brigham YOUNG-MI registry. Eur Heart J. 2020;41:4127-4137.

About the European Society of Cardiology

The European Society of Cardiology brings together health care professionals from more than 150 countries, working to advance cardiovascular medicine and help people lead longer, healthier lives.

European Heart Journal - Quality of Care and Clinical Outcomes

European Heart Journal - Quality of Care and Clinical Outcomes publishes original research and topical reviews from health scientists around the world, focusing on quality of care as it affects cardiovascular outcomes in hospitals, as well as at national international levels.

European Society of Cardiology

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.