Heart attacks once characterized as a part of "old man's disease" -are increasingly occurring in younger people, especially women, according to new research. The study, presented Sunday at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions meeting in Chicago and published in the AHA journal Circulation, sought to investigate heart attacks in the young, a group frequently overlooked in cardiovascular research

Past research has shown heart attack rates in the US have declined in decades among 35- to 74-year-olds. But for the new study, I wanted to look at how many younger people were having heart attacks.

They included data from a multi-state study of more than 28,000 people hospitalized for heart attacks from 1995 to 2014. The results showed 30% of those patients were young, age 35 to 54.

More importantly, they found the people having heart attacks were increasing from 27% at the start of the study to 32 percent at the end. "Cardiac disease is sometimes considered to be an old man's disease, but the suit of heart attacks among young people is going the wrong way," said Dr. Sameer Arora, the study's lead author. "This is relative. It tells us that we need to focus more attention on this population."

Lipid-lowering therapy

Among women having heart attacks, the increase in young patients went from 21%t to 31%, to bigger jump than in young men. Researchers also found that women had a lower probability than men of getting lipid-lowering therapy, including antiplatelet drugs, beta blockers, coronary angiography, and coronary revascularization and coronary revascularization.

"Women were not managed the same way, and that could be a combination of reasons," said Arora, a cardiology fellow at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

"Traditionally,  coronary artery disease is seen as a man's disease, so women who come to the emergency department with chest pain might not be seen as high-risk," he said. "Also, the presentation of heart attack is different in men and women." Women are more likely to present with atypical symptoms compared to men, and their  heart attack  is more likely to be missed."

Dr. Ileana L. Piña, a cardiologist who was not involved in the research, called the study "another wake-up call to physicians, especially male physicians" to pay attention to the symptoms of heart disease in women.

"The number one killer of women is not breast cancer or uterine cancer; the number one killer of women is heart disease," she said. "And until we pay attention to this, these kinds of figures are going to keep coming up."

Pineapple and Arora both said they would like to see women better represented in future studies on heart disease. "It's very important to enroll enough women so we can actually take a look at the female population separately," said Piña, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

The study also found that high blood pressure and diabetes were rising among the patients who had heart attacks. Compared with young men in the study,  young women were even more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes and chronic kidney disease.

"Pineapple said," You need to get your weight down and move and exercise, "he said. But focusing on your health can be challenging for women because of long-held gender beliefs about parenting and household work, she said.

"It's hard when a woman is working two jobs and taking care of the family, too," Piña said. "They'll do anything for Their families, but They Often Themselves leave for last. We need to teach women to change health Their attitude and take care of themselves. If They do not do well, Their families will not do well Either. "