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People who experience a heart attack after the age of 65 have more than a 20% chance of mortality one year after the event — and those rates continue to climb at an alarming pace over the ensuing decade.

That’s what new research on the health outcomes following a myocardial infarction (MI) among nearly 20,000 patients tells us, according to an analysis presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology.

“Our sobering long-term mortality results demonstrate an unmet need in addressing the long-term outcomes in older MI patients,” said Dr. Ajar Kochar, according to Cardiology News.

About 735,000 Americans suffer a myocardial infarction, or heart attack, every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s one heart attack every 43 seconds.

The majority of heart attacks occur in men over the age of 60, which means the new analysis holds important health implications for patients and the medical community at large, especially as the large baby boomer generation ages.

“If you have a heart attack at age 65 even with the best medical care, 25 percent will be dead within a year, 51 percent will be dead within 5 years and 72 percent won’t make it to their 75th birthday,” said Dr. Steven Gundry, founder of Gundry MD.

The researchers also found that when limiting the analysis to a younger subset of patients — those between the ages of 65 and 74 — the 10-year mortality rate remained elevated at 53 percent.

“This proves that we need to change what people eat, what they take as supplements, because stents, statins and bypass surgery are producing sobering results,” said Dr. Gundry, who was not involved in the study.

Causes of Death Remain Nebulous

A number of physicians added that the 10-year mortality rate among the study participants may seem overly severe because older adults face additional health challenges as they age, such as cancer, infections and other diseases, according to Cardiology News.

However, the study authors believe their results narrow the cause of death in most cases to a cardiovascular-related event. The study was not able to discern if, or for how long, patients maintained a medication regimen, which is commonly prescribed following a heart event.

Ultimately, the study shows that individuals over 65 who experience a heart attack face a significantly abbreviated lifespan than those who don’t suffer a heart attack. According to national health statistics, a person aged 65 can expect to live nearly 20 more years. For the study participants who had a heart attack after the age of 65, average lifespan was little more than eight years.

More than 70 million Americans are projected to be older than 65 by 2030, a fact that merits further investigation into the effects of interventions following a heart episode.

Dr G’s Takeaway

If you have a heart attack at age 65, even with the best medical care, 25% won’t make it within a year, 51% will be dead within 5 year, and 72% won’t make it to their 75th birthday! This proves that we need to change what we eat and what we take as supplements because stents, statins, bypass surgery are producing sobering results. To put it another way, it’s like telling you that you have cancer at age 65 and get your affairs in order, because you have a 50% mortality in 5 years. Make healthy choices today!

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