High blood pressure and high cholesterol in young adults may be particularly dangerous, new research suggests. It increases the risk for cardiovascular disease in later life, whatever risk factors develop in later years.
Scientists pooled the results of six studies with data on blood pressure and cholesterol in 36,030 people ages 18 to 84, followed for an average of 17 years.
They found that a person under 40 with a systolic blood pressure (the top number) above 130 had a 37 percent greater risk for heart failure later in life compared with someone with a reading under 120. Compared with a diastolic (the bottom number) reading under 80, a level over 80 was associated with a 21 percent increased risk for heart failure.
A person under 40 with an LDL level above 100 was at a 64 percent higher risk for later coronary heart disease than a young adult with a lower reading.
The study, in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that these associations were independent of risk factors later in life.
“This study shows that the young adult stage is a window of opportunity for early prevention, rather than treating people in older ages when they already have clinical disease,” said the lead author, Yiyi Zhang, a research scientist at Columbia University.
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