Young patients, docs can miss signs of heart disease, attack
November 6th, 2012
12:59 PM ET

Young patients, docs can miss signs of heart disease, attack

When some people think about heart disease, they think primarily of older adults.  However, both doctors and young patients miss opportunities to recognize symptoms of heart problems and treat them proactively, according to research presented at the American Heart Association conference.

A study discussed Tuesday found a common risk factor for heart disease - high blood pressure, or hypertension - often goes undiagnosed in younger patients.

"This research directly addresses the public health burden in the U.S. as far as rising rates of hypertension among young adults, especially with the growing rate of obesity," said Dr. Heather Johnson, lead study author from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

High blood pressure increases a person's risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and heart failure.   Blood pressure that stays elevated can damage the blood vessels, along with other parts of the body.

"A timely diagnosis and control of high blood pressure is important, even if a patient is a young adult," Johnson said.

Researchers studied 13,593 electronic health records of both men and women. Everyone had their blood pressure taken at least twice during office visits within the previous three years under non-urgent situations. They had multiple blood pressure readings that met the criteria for having hypertension.

After four years, more than two-thirds of patients aged 18 to 24 were not diagnosed with high blood pressure. Those who were told they have hypertension only slightly increased with age. By age 60, more than half were left undiagnosed.

The young adults who were less likely to be diagnosed were smokers with a mild stage of hypertension. Minorities were more likely to be told they have the condition, along with young diabetics, those with severe hypertension and those who made more doctor visits.

Internal medicine doctors were more likely to detect and treat high blood pressure than family practice doctors. Female physicians were also more likely to make a diagnosis.

The researchers hope to spark conversation between doctors and patients.

"It's important for patients to know what the blood pressure reading is when its taken at a clinic ... to ask if it is normal or abnormal," Johnson said.

Another study presented at the AHA meeting found younger adults, especially women, often fail to recognize heart-related chest pain as a cardiac symptom.

Researchers interviewed about  3,000 heart attack patients aged 18 to 55 to find out about their symptoms and any previous interaction with their physician. The patients were in more than 100 hospitals between 2008-2012.

One in three women and one in five men visited their doctor with symptoms, such as chest pain or discomfort, prior to their heart attack, but less than half of those women were told that the symptoms might be related to their heart, compared to nearly two-thirds of men.

"We know that many of the risk factors are increasing in our population meaning more obesity, more hypertension, more high cholesterol...we can't just go by chronologic age for risk of heart disease," said study author Judith Lichtman from the Yale School of Public Health.

"We really have to look at the whole picture," she added. "I think the whole picture may be sliding down to younger ages and we need to be better about recognizing the risk."

5 secrets you should never keep from your cardiologist

Almost 60% of the men and women thought their symptoms were not heart-related. Men commonly misattributed indigestion or muscle pain. Women commonly blamed stress, anxiety or indigestion. Women reported waiting more than a day to seek care, and were less likely to believe the cause was cardiac in nature. Both sexes reported with chest pain or discomfort.

"We also found that women had more of the other, sort of (atypical symptoms)– more jaw pain, back pain, all of the other things that we've heard women have more of, but it was interesting that they really did have more classic chest pain too," Lichtman said.

She added that regardless of age, heart disease should still be on the radar.

"This is not only a missed opportunity for individuals to say, 'Wow, I'm having these symptoms, and I have these risk factors, maybe I'm at risk for heart attack,' but I think even when they engage the health care system, we're maybe missing opportunities there too," she added.

It is important to note that these studies are not yet in a peer-reviewed journal. The American Heart Association's meeting looks at the latest advances in heart health.

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Austin Walker

    I have seen this in many teens at our center. I have also noted that many of them that show similar signs are also on many meds such as ADHD medication. I think a lot of what triggers these things early is lack of a proper diet. All in All if the signs are there, you need to act early to prevent major heart problems later in life.

    Austin Walker
    Compass Rose Academy Residential Treatment Centers

    November 6, 2012 at 21:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Hemrid review

    Heart attack problem is increasing day by day. It causes badly to our society. We need more posts about this. Thanks for this post. For more information please visit our site http://hemridreviews.com/

    November 8, 2012 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. jacobmeier

    I've heard about this many times and even i sometimes think it could happen to me but as long as you can control your eating habits the possibility of it happening would have a good chance of decreasing. An example being a food chart of what you should eat daily to notice your highs and lows.

    November 8, 2012 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. jone

    I have chest pain nerly 6 years
    I do not know why....
    I am unemployed almost 4 years because this pains.

    November 10, 2012 at 03:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. reiktdbdfm


    November 11, 2012 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. seo

    Hello, you used to write fantastic, however the last a number of posts happen to be kinda boring... I miss your tremendous writings. Previous several posts are only a little bit out of track! come on! seo http://fiverr.com/twnseobacklink

    April 24, 2013 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. http://dartagnan-couponcode.blogspot.com/

    It's in fact very difficult in this busy life to listen news on Television, thus I just use web for that reason,
    and obtain the most recent information.

    October 8, 2013 at 00:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. vitamin c serum

    Get the best wrinkle remover currently available on the market plus at the best price.

    December 31, 2015 at 19:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Ricky Attles

    It’s difficult to get knowledgeable folks on this topic, but the truth is be understood as what happens you’re preaching about! Thanks


    December 20, 2020 at 18:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. froleprotrem

    Great post. I was checking continuously this weblog and I am impressed! Very useful information particularly the final part 🙂 I deal with such info a lot. I was seeking this particular information for a long time. Thanks and good luck.


    December 31, 2020 at 14:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. zortilo nrel

    You actually make it appear really easy along with your presentation however I find this topic to be actually something which I believe I might never understand. It kind of feels too complicated and very wide for me. I'm taking a look ahead on your next publish, I will attempt to get the hold of it!


    February 7, 2021 at 08:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. zortilonrel

    You made various fine points there. I did a search on the theme and found most people will agree with your blog.


    February 7, 2021 at 13:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. tengeri szállítmányozás Europa-Road Kft

    Hello my loved one! I want to say that this post is amazing, nice written and come with approximately all vital infos. I'd like to see more posts like this.


    February 9, 2021 at 03:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. http://www.fokuszpalyazat.hu/

    Somebody essentially help to make seriously articles I would state. This is the first time I frequented your web page and thus far? I amazed with the research you made to make this particular publish extraordinary. Fantastic job!


    February 9, 2021 at 04:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. plumbing contractor Glenville NC

    158501 978939Wow, incredible weblog structure! How long have you been running a blog for? you produced running a blog look effortless. The entire appear of your internet site is magnificent, neatly as the content material! 282127

    February 14, 2021 at 20:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. build a blog

    At this time it appears like Drupal is the top blogging platform available right now. (from what I've read) Is that what you're using on your blog?


    February 22, 2021 at 00:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. 포커에이스

    812474 564942Your writing is fine and gives food for thought. I hope that Ill have a lot more time to read your articles . Regards. I wish you that you frequently publish new texts and invite you to greet me 516272

    April 6, 2021 at 12:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. coronavirus

    764633 772766Its fantastic as your other posts : D, appreciate it for putting up. 365790

    May 11, 2021 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Nellie Demopoulos

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a video game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these Second Life articles and blogs


    May 11, 2021 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Johnson Hatcher

    This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though


    May 12, 2021 at 06:35 | Report abuse | Reply

Leave a Reply to Hemrid review


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.