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The Quarter Life Crisis: Why Millennials Should Be Concerned About Heart Disease Now

Feb. 23, 2017 at midnight

Last December 28, Keiana Herndon's Facebook Live post went viral. While in front of the camera, singing to viewers and talking about the future with her one-year-old baby on hand, she suddenly fell over backwards. Friends online watched in shock as her family called 911 and rushed her to hospital. Apparently, she'd suffered a fatal heart attack. She was twenty-six years old.

Millennials, as a rule, don't even contemplate the prospect of death—let alone dying of a heart attack before one is thirty; that just happens to older folks, right? Wrong.

Too Young to Die? Think Again.

Regardless of how easy it is to Google healthy recipes, 58% of millennials still opt for junk food several times a week and 50% drink soda often. No matter how prevalent #fitspo is on social media, 44% don't exercise regularly. Experts have traced these bad habits back to the childhood obesity epidemic in the 1990s which many of them were victims of when they were younger. Also, despite knowing better now, 17% are smokers, and 44% have a binge-drinking problem.

Along with Gen-X, Millennials are also the most stressed generation challenging the notion that they are lazy, entitled, and lack a decent work ethic. Many suffer from mental health problems such as anxiety and depression because they are thrust into work environments that are not aligned with their personal values.

Combine all these, and we have a young generation that suffers from obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, pulmonary disease, and several other cardiovascular problems. The result? Deadly heart attacks like the one that claimed the life of Keiana Herndon.

Don't Wait for 40 Before Getting Healthy

Fortunately for Millennials, most types of heart disease are both preventable and reversible. As long as they start adopting the right habits, they can look forward to a happy, healthy middle age and beyond.

A study has shown that each of these five factors will reduce artery damage by 15%:

  1. not being overweight or obese;
  2. not smoking;
  3. exercising;
  4. eating healthfully, and
  5. limiting alcohol intake.

Previous generations typically characterize millennials as lazy, carefree and passive. While that's an unfair generalization, being unconcerned about heart health until they're older can indeed be deadly. Heart disease is a silent killer, and its symptoms can go unnoticed until it's too late.

Have a Heart to Heart

This February, we encourage everyone, especially millennials, to celebrate National Heart Health Month. Aside from being aware of risk factors, people should also know the signs of potential and undiagnosed heart trouble. People should seek professional help if they exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe chest pain for men
  • Pain in the jaw, left arm, or back for women Heart palpitations
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Indigestion
  • Feeling faint or passing out.

Talking about heart disease may seem awkward or even unnecessary when you're young, but it's all part of being a responsible adult. So, get proactive with your heart health today!


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