High LDL cholesterol linked to higher risk of heart disease, even people are young and healthy

High LDL cholesterol linked to higher risk of heart disease, even people are young and healthy

In a new study, researchers find that young, healthy people may still face a higher risk of cardiovascular disease if their LDL cholesterol levels are high.

Coronary heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, affecting half of all men and one-third of all women.

About 28.5 million Americans have total cholesterol levels of 240 mg/dL or higher.

LDL cholesterol (‘bad’ cholesterol) is a type of cholesterol that contributes to clogged arteries which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Previous studies have focused on people at moderate or high risk for cardiovascular disease.

In the study, the team examined links between LDL and HDL cholesterol (‘good’ cholesterol) and cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease mortality.

The study included 36,375 young, relatively healthy participants who were free of diabetes or cardiovascular disease and were followed for 27 years.

Among the group (72% men, average age 42), there were 1,086 deaths from cardiovascular disease, such as stroke, and 598 coronary heart disease deaths.

For a low-risk person, the team found that LDL levels were linked to higher risk for dying from cardiovascular disease.

This means to be at low 10-year risk for heart health problems, people should lower elevated cholesterol earlier through lifestyle changes and even cholesterol-lowering medication.

The team suggests that high cholesterol at younger ages means there will be a greater burden of cardiovascular disease as these individuals age.

Americans of any age need to know the risks of elevated cholesterol, and they need to keep cholesterol at a healthy level throughout life.

Healthy lifestyle habits include limiting saturated fat intake, maintaining a healthy weight, discontinuing tobacco use, and increasing aerobic exercise.

The lead study author is Shuaib Abdullah, M.D. at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Veteran’s Affairs North Texas Healthcare System in Dallas, Texas.

The study is published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

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Source: Circulation.