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The One Sign You're More Likely to Die After a Heart Attack, Says Study

A new study finds that having no risk factors can lead to worse outcomes.

People who have no risk factors for heart disease are more likely to die of a heart attack than people who do have risk factors, a new study has found. According to research published in the Lancet, people who had no traditional risk factors were almost 50 percent more likely to die 30 days after having a heart attack than people with risk factors (high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or smoking). And women had three times the mortality rate of men. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

What could be causing this?

To reach these conclusions, researchers used a Swedish health registry to analyze the medical histories of 62,000 people who had heart attacks caused by plaque in their arteries. 

"Despite their perceived low risk of having coronary disease, they had a much higher mortality rate compared to people who had traditional risk factors explaining a heart attack," Dr. Emma Figtree, a cardiologist and lead author of the study, told Australia's ABC News. "It shows we need to think beyond traditional risk factors to find out what is driving the increased heart attacks and mortality."

Researchers aren't sure. Figtree said people without traditional risk factors might be more susceptible to fatal heart rhythm changes. 

"The biology that drives the susceptibility to heart disease in these individuals may actually unlock all sorts of information that helps us better understand the rest of the population at risk of heart disease," said Figtree, who is conducting more research into the causes of the phenomenon.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for about one in every four deaths. Cardiovascular disease—a general term for disease involving the heart or blood vessels—affects about half of Americans.

CDC statistics show that in the U.S., someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds, and someone dies of cardiovascular disease every 36 seconds.

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How to Survive this Pandemic

Do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more about Michael
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