More young women are having heart attacks. This might be why

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(Amanda MacMillan/ — Over the past 40 years, doctors have gotten a lot better at treating heart disease. In the 1960s, it wasn’t unusual for adults to die or become severely disabled from heart attacks in only their fifth or sixth decade of life. And while heart disease is still the number-one killer in the United States, it’s also no longer a guaranteed death sentence, thanks to newer medications, improved surgical techniques, and better understanding of the disease.

Society as a whole has also gotten better at preventing heart disease. A 2018 study in the journal Circulation found that the overall rate of heart disease in the U.S. had declined 38%this link opens in a new tab since 1990. Other developed countries have seen even greater reductions.

But these improvements haven’t benefited everyone equally—and one new study shows a troubling trend among young people, and young women, in particular. When researchers looked at hospitalization rates for heart attacksthis link opens in a new tab between 1995 and 2014, they found that those numbers had steadily increased among people ages 35 to 54. (…)

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