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Young, apparently healthy -- and at risk of heart disease
Date:10/24/2011

Vancouver Atherosclerosis or buildup of fat in the walls of arteries − is thought of as a disorder of older people but it affects a large number of young men and women, according to a new Heart and Stroke Foundation study.

"The proportion of young, apparently healthy adults who are presumably 'the picture of health' who already have atherosclerosis is staggering," says Dr. Eric Larose, an interventional cardiologist at the Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Qubec and an assistant professor at Universit Laval.

Atherosclerosis can eventually lead to serious problems including heart disease, stroke, or even death.

The study enrolled 168 young adults (age 18 to 35) half male and half female who had no known cardiovascular disease or risk factors such as family history of premature heart disease, diabetes, smoking, high blood cholesterol, or high blood pressure.

The team took complete body measurements, including height, weight, body-mass index and waist circumference. They also measured, through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), various body fat deposits including subcutaneous fat (fat under the skin that you can measure with calipers) as well as fat within and around the abdomen and chest including the amount of intra-abdominal or visceral fat. Ultimately, they measured atherosclerosis volumes of the carotid arteries by MRI.

The researchers found that although a large proportion of subjects didn't have traditional risk factors for atherosclerosis, they did have discrete signs: greater waist circumference, and visceral fat covering the internal organs within the chest and abdomen. Visceral fat is difficult to detect because it surrounds the organs deep inside the body, unlike the fat under our skin than can be easily detected in the mirror or with a pinch of the fingers.

"We know obesity is a bad thing," says Dr. Larose "but we're dropping the ball on a large proportion of y
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Contact: Amanda Bates
amanda@curvecommunications.com
604-306-0027
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Source:Eurekalert

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