Many of the heart disease risk factors are the same for everyone. Lifestyle choices, such as lack of exercise, obesity, smoking and drinking alcohol excessively, are risk factors that affect many adults. But Dr. Regis Fernandes, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, says such behaviors seem to be more prevalent in younger people now than in the past.
In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Ian Roth talks with Dr. Fernandes about the other big reason millennials, people born between 1982 and 1994, may be at higher risk for developing heart disease at a younger age than previous generations.
Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:59) is in the downloads. Read the script.
"Lack of exercise, drinking too much alcohol, smoking and things like that [are risk factors]," says Dr. Fernandes.
The risks of heart disease are the same for everyone, but Dr. Fernandes says these habits seem to be more prevalent in younger people now than in the past.
"They're very savvy," he says. "They're very good with computers, but they're lacking on the exercise. Obesity is increasing."
Most closely associated with the computer generation are millennials. Dr. Fernandes says one of the biggest reasons is stress.
"That's a problem that they're going to carry through their lifetime," he says. "And we're seeing this nowadays. This will eventually translate into heart disease at a younger age. And we see that in our emergency rooms now every day."
Dr. Fernandes says millennials have to stop thinking about heart disease as something older people like their parents suffer from and start addressing their own heart disease risks.
"Eating more fruits and vegetables, avoiding high-calorie foods that are high in sugar and flour, etc.," he says. "Those behaviors actually help to reduce your blood pressure, reduce your sodium intake and your sugar intake. And they actually help to reduce your stress level."