Cholesterol Testing in 20s can Determine Your Heart Disease Risk

by Iswarya on  December 6, 2019 at 3:39 PM Heart Disease News
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Getting tested for high cholesterol during your 20s can help determine heart disease risk, and follow preventive measures. The findings of the study are published in The Lancet.
Cholesterol Testing in 20s can Determine Your Heart Disease Risk
Cholesterol Testing in 20s can Determine Your Heart Disease Risk

The study is the most comprehensive yet to look at the long-term health risks of having too much "bad" cholesterol for decades, the BBC reported.

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Researchers maintain that earlier the people take action to reduce cholesterol through diet changes and medication, the better.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance - a lipid - found in some foods and also produced in our liver. It is needed to make hormones like estrogen and testosterone, Vitamin D, and other compounds.

While High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is "good" as it keeps the body healthy, Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is "bad" as it can clog arteries.

Researchers analyzed the data obtained from almost four lakh persons in 19 countries. They found a strong link between bad cholesterol levels and risk of cardiovascular disease from early adulthood over the next 40 years or more.

They were able to estimate the probability of a heart attack or stroke for people aged 35 and over, according to their gender, bad-cholesterol level, age, and risk factors such as smoking, diabetes, height and weight, and blood pressure.

The BBC quoted the report's co-author Stefan Blankenberg of the University Heart Center in Hamburg: "The risk scores currently used in the clinic to decide whether a person should have lipid-lowering treatment only assess the risk of cardiovascular disease over ten years and so may underestimate lifetime risk, particularly in young people."

Blankenberg told BBC: "I strongly recommend that young people know their cholesterol levels and make an informed decision about the result - and that could include taking a statin."

However, he added, there is a danger that people could rely on statins rather than leading a healthy lifestyle, and although they were usually well-tolerated, studies had not been done on the potential side-effects of taking them over decades.

British Heart Foundation medical director Nilesh Samani said: "This large study again emphasizes the importance of cholesterol as a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

"It also shows that for some people, taking measures at a much earlier stage to lower cholesterol, for example by taking statins, may have a substantial benefit in reducing their lifelong risk from these diseases."

Source: IANS

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