Should You Worry About High Cholesterol In Your 30s?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that’s found in the fats (lipids) in your blood. While your body needs cholesterol to continue building healthy cells, having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. When you have high cholesterol, you may develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries. Your heart may not get as much oxygen-rich blood as it needs, which increases the risk of a heart attack. Decreased blood flow to your brain can cause a stroke. High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) can be inherited, but it’s often the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, and thus preventable and treatable. A healthy diet, regular exercise and sometimes medication can go a long way toward reducing high cholesterol.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/basics/definition/con-20020865

Many folks in their 30s and 40s chow down on burgers, fried chicken and other fatty foods without fear, figuring they have years before they need to worry about their cholesterol levels. But new research reveals that long-term exposure to even slightly higher cholesterol levels can damage a person’s future heart health.

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If you’re under the impression high blood pressure is only hazardous at an advanced age, think again. A recent study conducted at the Duke Clinical Research Institute has revealed that people between the ages of 35 and 45 who have even slightly higher cholesterol levels than normal also have a significantly higher risk for heart disease compared to healthy adults with lower cholesterol levels.

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For every ten years of increased cholesterol between the ages of 35 and 55, the heart disease risk goes up by up to 40 per cent, according to a new US study. Scientists looked at data from the Framingham Heart Study, which began in 1948 and is one of the largest ongoing research projects focused on heart health. Lead author Dr Ann Marie Navar-Boggan, of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, said: ‘Our findings suggest that adults with longstanding mild to moderately elevated cholesterol levels may benefit from more aggressive prevention strategies earlier.

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“Few, if any, studies have gathered the quality of the cardiovascular data that the Framingham study has,” added biostatistician Michael Pencina, Ph.D., a senior author of the paper. “That wealth of data collected over time made it possible to analyze the long-term effects of cholesterol in young people-a topic on which not enough is known because it requires decades of tracking.”

Many young people may think they have years before they’ll be hit with high cholesterol. Unfortunately, that might not always be the case. For the study, researchers determined the length of time each participant had high cholesterol by age 55 and followed for up to 20 years to see how cholesterol levels affected the risk of heart disease. Bad cholesterol, otherwise known as LDL, was defined as anything higher than 160 mg/dL.

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photo credit: Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/xavier33300/9124156847/

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