Young people with high cholesterol may be more likely to develop coronary heart disease, according to findings published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
During a 20-year study conducted at the University of California in San Francisco, more than 3,200 individuals aged 18 to 30 years had their cholesterol measured. The researchers also examined each participant’s coronary artery calcium, which is plaque that accumulates in the arteries, by using CT scans.
The team discovered that those who recorded unhealthy levels of bad cholesterol in their bodies also suffered from an increase in coronary calcium, which is a cause of coronary heart disease. The results of the study also showed that the longer a person suffered increased measurements of bad cholesterol, the more likely they were to be diagnosed with related cardiovascular problems.
“We don’t usually worry too much about heart disease risk until a person is in middle age because it’s rare to have a heart attack in young adulthood,” said Mark J. Pletcher, lead author of the trial. He added that “however, our evidence shows that young adulthood is an important time because lasting damage already starts to accumulate at this age.”
One of the most common heart problems, coronary heart disease was the cause of more 445,000 deaths in the United States during 2005, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.