The study reveals that heart failure and stroke increase in men under the age of 40

Heart failure and stroke are unusual diagnoses in younger people. But they are now apparently growing in men under the age of 40, according to a study by the University of Gothenburg. Scientists have found links to obesity and poor fitness in old age.

This study, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, includes data on 1,258,432 men who, on average, aged 18.3, were enlisted in Sweden between 1971 and 1995.

Details on the weight, height and physical fitness of men at enrollment were combined with data in the National Patient Register of the National Board of Health and Welfare and the Register of Causes of Death for the period 1991-2016. Since they applied, the men have been monitored in this way for more than 20 years.

The proportion of participants who were overweight at the time of application, ie. With a body mass index (BMI) of 25-30, it increased from 6.6 to 11.2 percent between 1971 and 1995, while the proportion of obesity (BMI over 30) increased from 1.0 to 2.6 percent. During the same period, their level of fitness at the time of application also decreased slightly.

Heart failure and stroke increase

These factors – namely overweight, obesity and poor fitness – partly explain the large increase in heart failure we see in the study, as well as the increase in stroke.. “

David Åberg, first author of the study and associate professor at the Sahlgren Academy, University of Gothenburg

Åberg is a specialist physician at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

“It is gratifying to see, despite growing obesity, a fairly sharp decline in heart rate among these younger men, as well as their reduced mortality from cardiovascular disease,” he continues.
According to the study, cases of heart failure increased, according to the study, by 69 percent – from 0.49 per 1,000 men who reported in the first five years (1971-75) to 0.83 / 1,000 of those who reported in the last five (1991-95).

The number of stroke cases – cerebral infarction and cerebral hemorrhage – showed a similar trend. The increase in cerebral infarction was 32 percent, from 0.68 in the first five-year cohort to 0.9 to 1,000 in the last. For cerebral hemorrhage, the increase was 20 percent, from 0.45 to 0.54 per 1,000.

Strong support for physical activity

In contrast, heart attacks within 21 years of admission fell by 43 percent, from 1.4 to 0.8 per 1,000, the cohort that reported first and last respectively. The proportion of deaths from all cardiovascular diseases also decreased, by 50 percent – from 1.5 to 0.74 per 1,000.

The fact that cardiovascular disease trends move in different directions over time suggests that other, unknown factors are involved. According to researchers, post-employment weight trends may be one such factor, but stress and drug use may be different. Researchers, especially for heart attacks, believe that a fall is basically a sudden fall. The fact is, however, that overweight and obesity are affected.

“We see that heart attacks would have decreased even more had it not been for the increase in overweight and obesity. Our results thus provide strong support for the view that obesity and, to some extent, poor fitness by age 18 affect early-onset cardiovascular disease. at the social level, it is important to try to achieve more physical activity and we have already established good eating habits by adolescence, while we are less sedentary, ”concludes David Åberg.


Journal reference:

Åberg, ND, and others. (2021) Various trends for the development of acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, stroke and mortality in young men: the role of changes in obesity and fitness. Journal of Internal Medicine.