Roundup: Heart Attacks in Young Women; Too Much TV for Toddlers; and a ‘Push-Ups’ Heart Test for Men

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February 22, 2019


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Heart Attacks Increasing Among Young People, Ages 35 to 54, Especially Women, Study Finds

The risk of having a heart attack seems to be on the rise in young women, ages 35 to 54, according to a new study.

Between 1995 and 1999, 27 percent of those hospitalized for heart attacks were between the ages of 35 and 54, the study found. Between 2010 and 2014, that figure climbed to 32 percent. Heart attacks in women showed the biggest increase, jumping from 21 to 31 percent, according to a study published this week in Circulation.

During those same time periods, admissions for heart attacks among men increased less, from 30 percent to 33 percent, researchers said.

The new study involved data on 28,732 hospitalizations for heart attack in patients ages 35 to 74 between 1995 and 2014. The data came from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, or ARIC, and those hospitalizations were in four U.S. communities: Forsyth County, North Carolina; Washington County, Maryland; Jackson, Mississippi; and eight northwest suburbs of Minneapolis.

The researchers focused on young patients, ages 35 to 54, who made up 30 percent of the hospitalizations.

“The takeaway message is that an increasing percentage of heart attacks is occurring among younger patients, even though our population is aging, and the biggest increase seems to be among young women,” said Melissa Caughey, senior author of the study and a research instructor in the Division of Cardiology at the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine at Chapel Hill.

Additionally, researchers also found that these hospitalized women were less likely than male counterparts to receive guideline-recommended medications, including as non-aspirin blood thinners (17 percent lower), cholesterol- lowering drugs (13 percent lower) and beta-blockers (4 percent lower). Women were also 21 percent less likely than men to receive therapies to open clogged arteries.

A heart attack, or acute myocardial infarction, occurs when a part of the heart doesn’t receive enough blood. Each year, about 790,000 Americans suffer a heart attack, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart attacks are commonly a result of heart disease⁠, the leading cause of death in the United States.

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Toddlers’ Screen Time — Mostly TV — has More Than Doubled Since 1997, New Study Says

Despite recommendations from pediatricians to highly restrict “screen time” for toddlers in front of a TV or digital device, the reverse has occurred over the past two decades. A new study finds that screen time has more than doubled for children under two years old since the late 1990s.

The study published in the journal, Jama Pediatrics, found that daily screen time jumped from about one hour a day in 1997, to about three hours a day in 2014. Back in 1997, screen time meant mostly TV. Now, screen time can also encompass computer devices.

However, television still accounts for most of that time, with kids now spending more than two and a half hours a day watching TV. The rest of the time is spent on devices such as computers, cell phones and tablets.

The new study found that back in 1997, the average child between the ages of zero and two spent 1.32 hours each day in front of a screen. In 2014, that screen time increased to 3.05 hours per day. About 43 percent of their screen time in 1997 was spent in front of a TV. By 2014, that share of time increased to 86 percent. Researchers said that smartphones and computer tablets actually did not contribute much to boosting screen time in the zero-to-two age category.

Experts said too much exposure to screens, both TV and computer devices of any size, is unhealthy for young children, and may lead to cognitive, language and social delays. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting screen times to one hour per day for ages two to five, and avoiding screens altogether for infants younger than 18 months.

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Men Who Can Do 40 Push-Ups Linked to Lower Risk of Heart Disease: Study

Men who can complete 40 push-ups at a time have a greatly reduced risk of heart disease, compared to men who can only do fewer than 10, a new study has found.

Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed more than a thousand active, male firefighters over a period of 10 years, with the average age of the men at 39.6 and the average body mass index (BMI) at 28.7.

The men who can do more than 40 consecutive push-ups were 96 percent less like to have a cardiovascular disease event, such as a heart attacks, compared with those who couldn’t achieve that many push-ups.

Researchers, however, conceded that their findings had limitations.

“The results do not support push-up capacity as an independent predictor of CVD (cardiovascular disease) risk,” the study states. Additionally, since the study involved “middle-aged, occupationally active men,” its findings cannot be applied to “women, older or nonactive persons, other occupational groups, or unemployed persons.”

Further research is needed to determine any association between push-up capacity and heart health risk in the general population and “the potential use of push-ups as a clinical assessment tool,” researchers said.

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