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Heart Failure Deaths on the Rise in Younger People with Sadiya Khan, MD, Msc

Death rates due to heart failure are increasing, especially in people under the age of 65 and specifically among black men. What is fueling this upturn? How can it be stopped? Sadiya Khan, MD, MSc, assistant professor of Medicine, explains.

 

Saydia Kahn, MD, MSc

"We're finding more and more that the common risk factors of hypertension, diabetes and obesity may be contributing more to the development of heart failure."

Sadiya Khan, MD, MSc

  • Assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology
  • Northwestern Medicine Cardiologist

Episode Summary

Traditionally, heart failure has been considered a disease of older age, after the age of 60. However, in her clinic at Northwestern Medicine, Sadiya Khan, MD, MSc, sees many patients in their 30s, 40s and 50s who also are presenting with symptomatic heart failure.

Sadiya Khan: "This led us to be concerned to see if there are differences among younger and older adults that are developing heart failure."

She investigated this trend and published a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that found death rates due to heart failure are now increasing, and this increase is most prominent among younger adults under 65, considered premature death. The increase in premature death from heart failure was highest among black men under age 65.

Sadiya Khan: "When we looked at the CDC death certificate data for death certificates in the entire country, we looked at cardiovascular deaths related to heart failure, and what we saw was that there was a decrease from 1999 to 2012, but in 2012 deaths started to increase."

It is unknown why the increase began in 2012, but Khan says the burden of obesity and diabetes has been growing for some time and maybe at that point the rate of deaths changed.

Sadiya Khan: "Heart failure has many risk factors we've typically thought of as a disease that occurs after coronary artery disease. But we're finding more and more that the common risk factors of hypertension, diabetes and obesity may be contributing more to the development of heart failure."

The increase in premature death from heart failure was highest among black men and women under age 65, which is a cause for concern. Khan intends to investigate this finding further.

Sadiya Khan: "While there are multiple reasons for this difference, some of the common ones may be related to underlying risk factor burden. We know that black men and women have a higher rate of having hypertension, obesity and diabetes. There may be some other factors at play, including access to care, having insurance and income. We're looking at trying to understand what other determinants may be contributing to the mortality rates and the differential mortality rates between blacks and whites."

Khan said this number can drop, but there is work to be done first.

Sadiya Khan: "We've got lots of new novel therapies to think about. We have to think about new prevention strategies, but I think there's definitely room for improvement."

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Continuing Medical Education Credit

Physicians who listen to this podcast may claim continuing medical education credit after listening to an episode of this program.

Target Audience

Academic/Research, Multiple specialties

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify the research interests and initiatives of Feinberg faculty.
  2. Discuss new updates in clinical and translational research.
Accreditation Statement

The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation Statement

The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine designates this Enduring Material for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Disclosure Statement

Sadiya Khan, MD, MSc, has nothing to disclose. Course director, Robert Rosa, MD, has nothing to disclose. Planning committee member, Erin Spain, has nothing to disclose. Feinberg School of Medicine's CME Leadership and Staff have nothing to disclose: Clara J. Schroedl, MD, Medical Director of CME, Sheryl Corey, Manager of CME, Jennifer Banys, Senior Program Administrator, Allison McCollum, Senior Program Coordinator, and Rhea Alexis Banks, Administrative Assistant 2.

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