Navigation Links
High Cholesterol in Youth Boosts Heart Risk In Middle Age

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, August 2 (HealthDay News) -- Young adults whose cholesterol levels are even slightly higher than normal are at greater risk of developing artery-clogging calcium deposits later in life, which can trigger hardening of the arteries leading to heart disease, a new study suggests.

This conclusion runs counter to the common assumption that modestly high cholesterol levels are nothing to worry about in young adults. Equally important, it argues that people need to start eating healthy and exercising early to prevent heart disease, the researchers say.

"You can't just ignore your cholesterol levels until you get into middle age. You have to be thinking about them and having a healthy diet and exercise regimen even early in life when you are at low risk for heart attacks," said lead researcher Dr. Mark J. Pletcher, an assistant professor in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco.

Pletcher recommends diet and exercise as a way to control cholesterol, because the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins in young adults is controversial. People should start having their cholesterol checked when they are in their 20s, he said, and they should start a healthy diet and exercise program at the same time.

The report is published in the Aug. 2 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

For the study, Pletcher's team collected data on almost 3,300 men and women 18 to 30 years old participating in the CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) Study. Participants in the prospective study -- recruited from four different U.S. cities -- were comprised of black and white men and women who were healthy when they enrolled. Over a period of 20 years, they had their low- and high-density lipoprotein (LDL and HDL) cholesterol and triglycerides levels measured repeatedly.

After 20 years, the researchers performed scans looking at coronary artery calcium, which is a measure of calcium deposits in the coronary arteries. The average age at the time of the scan was 45. Coronary calcium deposits -- a risk factor for heart disease -- were present in 17 percent of the participants, or nearly one in five.

People whose "bad" cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) was high when they were in their 20s were more likely to have calcium lining their coronary arteries after age 35, the researchers found. In a subset of participants without abnormal blood fat levels who were not taking lipid-lowering medicine, low levels of good HDL cholesterol were also associated with a higher risk of calcifications.

For example, 44 percent of those with an average LDL of more than 160 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) when they were young had plaque buildup in their coronary arteries 20 years later, compared with 8 percent of those whose LDL levels were less than 70 mg/dL, Pletcher noted.

Even a modest rise in LDL, as low as 100-129 mg/dL, was associated with a higher risk of atherosclerosis, the researchers said. Sixty-five percent of the young adults had LDL levels greater than 100 mg/dL, they added.

The study had some limitations, the researchers noted in the Annals of Internal Medicine. "Coronary calcium, although a strong predictor of future coronary heart disease, is not a clinical outcome," they wrote.

The researchers also wrote that "safety concerns [about cholesterol-lowering treatments] are rightly magnified when starting treatment early in life is considered." The findings, they said, "cannot provide evidence for the effectiveness or safety" of using cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins, during young adulthood, although they added that could be an area for further investigation.

"It is an active area of debate," Pletcher said, adding that new guidelines are expected next year that will consider the use of statins in young adults.

Although drug therapy might be useful, Pletcher added, "there is no firm evidence that treating people with statins during young adulthood is overall beneficial, because it would require treating people for 30 to 50 years before any benefit in terms of heart attack prevention would occur."

Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a professor, medicine and director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center at the University of California, Los Angeles said that "it has been very well established that atherosclerosis begins in childhood and progresses during adolescence and young adulthood, resulting in more advanced lesions in middle-aged and older adults."

The atherosclerosis disease process begins with lipids accumulating in the artery wall and ultimately may result in more advanced lesions that rupture, leading to heart attacks, he said.

"These results and prior studies lend support for the public health strategy of beginning risk-factor control in youth and continuing it life-long through improved cardiovascular health behaviors," Fonarow said.

In terms of what can be done, Fonarow said that "lifestyle changes are the mainstay of lipid and other cardiovascular risk factor modification in youth."

Fonarow added that cholesterol-lowering drugs should be used only in young people who have very high cholesterol levels.

"According to current guidelines, statins or other cholesterol lowering medications should generally be reserved for pediatric patients with very high LDL levels, with careful assessment of the risks and benefits of drug treatment," he added.

More information

For more information on cholesterol, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Mark J. Pletcher, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor, department of epidemiology and biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco; Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., professor, medicine, and director, Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center, University of California, Los Angeles; Aug. 2, 2010, Annals of Internal Medicine.

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. No firm conclusions about HDL cholesterol can be drawn from JUPITER sub-analysis
2. Some on Statins May Not Need Boost in Good Cholesterol
3. New links between cholesterol and depression in the elderly
4. Screening Guidelines Miss Many Kids With High Cholesterol
5. Good HDL Cholesterol Now Tied to Lower Cancer Risk
6. U of M study: Monitoring cholesterol increases life expectancy
7. Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
8. Children may be able to eat before cholesterol test, study shows
9. Watch Your Cholesterol, Your Blood Pressure ... and This Enzyme?
10. Cholesterol Drugs May Slow MS
11. Should Cholesterol Drugs Be Used By Those Without High Cholesterol?
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
High Cholesterol in Youth Boosts Heart Risk In Middle Age
(Date:10/9/2015)... Beach, CA (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2015 ... ... is now offering a special promotion on Invisalign, the orthodontic system that uses ... reasons. The aligners are almost invisible against the teeth, which allow patients to ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... , ... October 09, 2015 , ... ... has announced the final product specifications for TRACTUS, the world’s first sterile field ... the United States in response to the FDA’s recent Unique Device Identifier (UDI) ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2015 , ... The Asthma ... the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to improve the knowledge and ... that AAFA has been awarded a project by the CDC and allows AAFA to ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... Orleans, LA (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2015 ... ... with offices serving New Orleans and the surrounding communities, is initiating a combined ... and medical care for unwanted animals in southern Louisiana. , Animal Rescue ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... ... October 09, 2015 , ... Prescription Hope, the ... walks of life to save money on the high cost of their prescription ... per medication, individuals and families can receive their medications delivered direct from over ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
... Medicine, Radiation Therapy after Lumpectomy// and five years of treatment ... both cancer recurrence and new tumors in older women with ... standard care for younger patients, it is has been shown ... lead author Ann M. Geiger, M.P.H., Ph.D., an associate professor ...
... found that endurance athletes with ventricular arrhythmias also possess ... in endurance sports come up with a relatively rare ... arrhythmia, the heart beats at an abnormal rate and ... majority of athletes with VA also have worthless right ...
... beneficial traits shape up in natural populations,// but one is ... traits. Two theories have tried to address this challenge – ... ,The theory of hitchhiking has indicated that ... frequent in natural populations when they "hitch a ride" with ...
... right kind of diet is said to have a beneficial effect ... promote good health in men are the following // ,Vegetables ... health boosters while the non-vegetarian food like oysters, shrimps and deep ... aid in the digestion of proteins and nutrients and also help ...
... twenties group who take the preventive test for cervical cancer viz. ... in 2005-06 from 80% in 1995. A parallel trend was observed ... said to avoid this test due to the painful and invasive ... the young women population who are avoiding this test are the ...
... states that fat men are able to handle heart attacks ... team of researchers from University of California. ... heart attacks, they were able to recuperate better than thin ... of fat reserves in their body which is helping them ...
Cached Medicine News:
(Date:10/9/2015)... -- AcelRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ACRX ) today announced ... Society of Emergency Medicine (EuSEM) meeting to be held October ... the Lingotto Congress Centre in Turin, Italy ... medicine practitioners in the world with over 2000 delegates in ... previously announced phase 2 bunionectomy trial will also be included.  ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... October 9, 2015 El ,JCA-Mauvernay Award 2015, ... y Junko Takita    --> ... los doctores Yutaka Kondo y ... Award 2015, se ha otorgado a los doctores ... ™ , una compañía biofarmacéutica global con sede enSuiza, presentará el ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... , Oct. 8, 2015  Ardelyx, Inc. ... focused on gastrointestinal and cardio-renal diseases, today announced ... candidate, tenapanor, will be presented at the 2015 ... findings will include measures of sustained response in ... blind, placebo-controlled, randomized Phase 2 trial. The meeting ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
... Calif., Oct. 3, 2011 Boston ... took delivery of their long-awaited WASP® (Walk Away ...  The acquisition was concomitant with the inauguration of ... efforts to optimize patient care by consolidating resources ...
... 2011 Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR ) ... provide its ProBeam system for the Scripps Proton Therapy Center ... Scripps Clinic Medical Group and Advanced Particle Therapy , ... that will be operated by Scripps Health was issued by ...
Cached Medicine Technology:
The Spex SkinSkan is the only in-vivo, fibre-optic spectrofluorometer designed specifically for skin-fluorescence measurements. It is also ideal for many remote sensing steady-state fluorescence appl...
The unique RF-1501 optical design provides exceptional sensitivity in an incredibly compact instrument....
... RNA, Or Fluorescent Tags. Accurate quantitation of minute ... life science research. The RF-Mini 150 Fluorometer offers ... small as 1ng/ml of DNA specific Hoechst Dye. ... emission filters, the RF-Mini 150 can measure RNA ...
Medicine Products: