While many people may assume that cardiovascular problems only affect middle-aged to elderly men and women, poor heart health can afflict young adults as well. Here is a closer look at three of the most common heart problems affecting young adults.
A heart arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat. Arrhythmias can be caused by a range of factors and are quite common among people of all ages. However, they can be far from harmless. In fact, arrhythmias are the most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest, which is the most common cause of natural death in the United States.
2. Heart Muscle Diseases
Heart disease, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), can cause the heart muscle to become abnormally thick, hindering its ability to pump blood throughout the body. While HCM is normally not fatal, it is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in people under the age of 30, and especially affects athletes.
3. Heart Defects
The causes of congenital heart defects are often unknown. Heart defects may be caused by a viral infection in the mother during pregnancy, alcohol or substance abuse during pregnancy or simply by genetics. While there is a range of known heart defects, individuals with defects commonly experience an obstruction in blood flow to the heart or an abnormal blood flow. More rare heart defects may involve one side of the heart being underdeveloped, only one ventricle present, or otherwise abnormal ventricles.