Providers are missing opportunities to speak with their younger patients who are at higher risk for heart disease, especially women, according to a study published online ahead of print October 26 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 

Less than half of individuals aged 55 years or younger who had been hospitalized with an acute myocardial infarction reported that their healthcare providers told them they had significant cardiac risk factors; women were 11% less likely to report that they had been informed of their risk.

Lead author Erica C. Leifheit-Limson, PhD, and colleagues studied 5 modifiable cardiac risk factors—diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, obesity, and smoking status—in 3,501 patients aged 18 to 55 years hospitalized for an acute myocardial infarction. Almost all of the patients (98%) had 1 or more cardiac risk factors; 64% had 3 or more risk factors. About 53% of the patients thought that they were at risk for heart disease, 46% said their healthcare provider had told them they were at risk, and 49% reported a discussion with their provider on heart disease and risk modification. Women were less likely than men to report that their providers told them they were at risk for heart disease (relative risk, 0.89) or had discussed with them ways to modify their risks (relative risk, 0.84).

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