Heart attacks among young people in the UK have more than doubled in the last few years, leaving scientists and doctors baffled as to the cause.
Cases in young age groups have doubled over the last few years, with rates in under-40s as a whole rising by a quarter.
The analysis was conducted by the Daily Mail, following the death of 29-year-old mother Lauren Page Smith, who was discovered lying on her bathroom floor with her two-year-old daughter clinging to her chest just hours after paramedics had given her the all-clear.
Dailymail.co.uk reports: Experts say the rise, which has become increasingly obvious in the wake of Covid, is down to a multitude of factors, including soaring obesity rates in the young. Over half of under 35s are now overweight or obese.
Being too fat is a major contributor to heart attacks, as critical arteries get clogged over time.
Top cardiologists have said fears that Covid vaccines may have fuelled the increase are way off the mark.
Heart attack admissions were broadly increasing across most adult age groups, including the young, before the pandemic took off.
A blip in people not getting care or coming forward during Covid sparked an NHS campaign for the public to be aware of the potential symptoms they might ignore.
These include signs like a squeezing feeling across the chest, sweating and a general feeling of unease.
Covid vaccines, like the mRNA versions made by the likes of Pfizer and Moderna can, rarely, trigger a heart complication called myocarditis.
This can weaken the heart muscle causing clots to form that can, in theory, trigger a heart attack.
But the overwhelming majority of vaccine-induced myocarditis cases are mild, real world evidence shows.
Many resolve on their own, and the under 40s haven’t been routinely invited for jabs since 2021 during the Omicron wave.
Cardiologists have repeatedly insisted that the vaccine has not led to a spike in cardiovascular health problems.
Professor Nick Linker, cardiologist and NHS England’s national clinical director for heart disease, said a multitude of reasons were behind a rise of heart attack admissions in young people.
‘Thanks to medical advances, most people who experience a heart attack and receive prompt NHS treatment will survive.
‘Despite this, due to a range of lifestyle factors including obesity, smoking, vaping, and alcohol consumption, we are seeing a global picture of people who are developing cardiovascular disease at younger age which is putting them at risk of potentially life-threatening or debilitating conditions such as a heart attack or stroke.’
Charities like the British Heart Foundation (BHF) have said that Covid vaccines are not believed to a major contributor to cardiovascular health trends.
‘Most people who have been affected have experienced a mild illness and recovered without medical treatment,’ its website reads.
It has also highlighted that people are at greater risk of developing myocarditis from a Covid infection than as a side effect of the jab.
MailOnline analysis of NHS data shows heart attack patients from Lauren’s demographic, 25-29, are at the highest level recorded in a decade.
Figures for such emergencies have almost doubled from just 97 in 2013/14 to 189 in this year’s data.
Jumps in admissions have also been seen in other under-40 age groups.
Rises of a about a quarter have been seen among 20-24 year olds, 30-34 year olds and 35-39 year olds, data shows.
It should be noted that the number of young people suffering heart attacks is small so even minor increases in the numbers can result in large percentage jumps.
The vast majority of heart attacks occur in older adults, with the average of a heart attack victim in England being 69.
However, the average age has been creeping steadily down from the 71 recorded a decade ago.
According to NHS data, some 80,000 people are admitted to hospital for a heart attack every year, with men making up twice as many case as women.
Yet despite the rise, death rates from cardiovascular disease — an umbrella term that includes the multiple heart conditions — in Britain have actually fallen.
In 2013, there were 2.7 deaths of cardiovascular disease in women of Lauren’s age per 100,000 population.
This translates to about 40 deaths a year.
By 2021, the latest data available, the cardiovascular death in this group fell to 2.5 per 100,000 people.
This relationship, attacks up but deaths down, is mirrored across adults under-35.
But charities have warned of a massive spike in excess deaths from cardiovascular disease overall.
The BHF calculated that, as of June this year, there have been nearly 100,000 excess deaths involving cardiovascular disease since the start of the pandemic.
Excess deaths are those above a number that would normally be expected for a given period of time calculated using long term trends.
A BHF report on the issue found these deaths were overwhelmingly concentrated in older adults, those aged 45-plus.
They attributed the rise to multiple factors, including the impact of Covid infections on heart health, delays with ambulance response times due to NHS demands and disruption to GP and heart health screening services.
The charity also highlighted the longer term rise of diabetes and obesity, factors that increase an individual’s risk of cardiovascular mortality, becoming increasingly common in the population.
Professor Linker urged people to be aware of the early signs of a heart attack, regardless of their age.
‘Often people dismiss the early signs of a heart attack as they do not consider themselves to be at risk,’ he said.
‘But make no mistake, a heart attack is a medical emergency and if you’re experiencing signs such as chest pain, a sensation of squeezing or tightness across the chest, call 999 immediately and describe your symptoms.’
His warning comes after the heart-breaking death of Lauren.
Lauren’s mother, Mrs Carrington, 49, had to perform CPR on her daughter after she discovered her lying on the bathroom floor.
She found her collapsed with Lauren’s two-year-old daughter clinging to her chest saying: ‘mummy won’t wake up.’
Lauren’s parents are now calling for the two paramedics involved in the incident to be sacked and have vowed to do whatever it takes to get justice for their daughter.
In a heartbreaking interview with MailOnline, Ms Carrington said: ‘I blame them two. I want their jobs. I blame them. Nothing’s going to bring Lauren back but I don’t want this happening to anybody ever again.’
Mr Carrington, 56, said that the couple got ‘no comfort’ from Lauren’s inquest last month, adding: ‘It just rubber-stamped what we already thought, that they basically let her die.’
A coroner ruled on November 1 that Lauren died after ‘gross failures’ in her care when West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) crews failed to spot that there was a ‘clear sign’ of a cardiac event in progress. But they did not rule there was ‘neglect’.