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Why younger adults should also be aware of heart health risks

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Posted at 2:48 PM, Feb 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-21 14:50:11-05

Heart health isn't something just older people need to be concerned about.

Dave Conway, who is in his 30s, knew something was wrong when he didn't feel well, but he had no idea his heart was the root of the issues.

"I typed in my symptoms again into WebMD, and it came back as pneumonia, and I was like, 'Perfect, this makes a lot of sense," he said. "(I) Took a couple of days off work, wasn't getting any better, and so my boss' neighbor was a respiratory therapist, and he told me, 'Hey, go into an urgent care.'"

Conway ended up being diagnosed with what's known as a "widow maker heart attack." It's when there's a blockage in the heart that can cause common symptoms like chest pain, nausea, fatigue, and lightheadedness.

The survival rate for people experiencing the condition outside of a hospital is 12%, according to the American Heart Association.

A new survey from the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center shows nearly half of those under 45 believe they are not at risk for heart disease. But the reality is that heart attacks and strokes are on the rise for that age group.

"I wasn't the, you know, the pillar of good health, but I was also 30, so I didn't really think that there was anything else that I needed to do," Conway said. "I tell people now, like, 'Go into the doctor and let them tell you everything's OK.'"

Medical experts say 80% of heart disease is preventable. Weight management and controlling cholesterol can help people prevent heart disease.