Heart attack: The illegal habit that could double your risk of the deadly condition

Brian May says he’s ‘grateful to be alive’ after heart attack

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Millions of people are unbeknownst to the fact that they’re at risk of a heart attack due to underlying conditions including high blood pressure and diabetes. Heart attacks can be broken down into different types – however the overarching feature of the condition is a blockage of one of more arteries, which can result in serious damage to the heart muscle. One study has identified a habit which could double the risk of an acute incident.

A new study investigating the link between cannabis use and heart attacks found that adults younger than 45 years were twice as likely to have a heart attack.

Doctor Karim Ladha, a clinician scientist at Unity Health Toronto, said: “With recent legalisation and decriminalisation, cannabis use is increasing in young adults in North America, and we do not fully know its effect on cardiovascular health.

“We found an association between recent cannabis use and myocardial infarction, which persisted across an array of robust sensitivity analyses.

“Additionally, this association was consistent across different forms of cannabis consumption, including smoking, vaporisation, and other methods such as edibles.

“This suggests that no method of consumption is safer than another in this regard.”

For their study, researchers looked at data from a survey conducted by the US Centres for Disease Control and prevention.

The analyses looked at 33,000 adults, 17 percent of whom reported using cannabis in the past 30 days.

Heart attack incidents were reported in 1.3 percent of cannabis users and 0.8 percent of nonusers.

Doctor David Mazer, clinician scientist at Unity Health Toronto, added: “Not only young adults, but physicians and other clinicians need to be aware of this potentially important relationship.

“Cannabis use should be considered in cardiovascular risk assessment.”

The researchers also noted that cannabis consumption was more prevalent among males, who also smoked e-cigarettes and were heavy alcohol drinkers – factors which the researchers believe could have contributed to their risk.

Nikhil Mistry, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto: “We analysed the Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System data because it is the best available source for providing insights which are generalisable and nationally representative.

“As young adults, it is important to be aware of the risks associated with cannabis use, especially in the current climate, where we are exposed to a wealth of misinformation and non-evidence based health recommendations.”

Recent figures revealed heart attack incidents rose between 2012 and 2016, after decades of decline.

Researchers believe the trend is likely to have been driven by sensitive tools able to pick up less severe incidents in greater numbers.

It is also believed, however, that increased levels of obesity and diabetes could be driving up heart attack rates.

Researchers at Oxford University said: “Continued surveillance of trends and coronary disease preventive strategies are warranted.

“The rise in hospitalisation rates in younger women and men have implications for clinicians and policymakers.

“Primary prevention guidelines and public awareness campaigns should continue to include the message that coronary disease is not just a disease of the elderly.”

“The impact of increasing prevalence of diabetes and obesity has been postulated as a reason for adverse trends in younger age groups.”

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