In the past 2 decades, a high prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as obesity, physical inactivity, and poor diet, has been observed among young individuals living in developed countries. The rate of substance abuse (opioids, cocaine, electronic cigarettes, and anabolic steroids) is also increasing among young adults, whereas cigarette smoking might be declining. Among younger individuals (aged 18-50 years), the incidence of cardiovascular diseases over the same time period has either been steady or has increased, in contrast to the trend towards a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease in adults aged >50 years. Current observations might, therefore, be used to forecast a potential epidemic of cardiovascular disease in the near future as the younger segment of the population ages. In this Review, we discuss the burden of risk factors for ischaemic heart disease, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and sudden cardiac death among young adults aged 18-45 years. Furthermore, we discuss the prevalence, incidence, and temporal trends of various cardiovascular diseases among this young segment of the population.