High blood pressure early in life tied to heart problems later
People with high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol before age 40 are more likely to have a heart attack later in life than other adults.
This is the main conclusion of a new US analysis, Reuters reports.
The association between early risks and later life CVD incidents
The authors pooled data from 6 U.S. cohorts with observations spanning the life course from young adulthood to later life, The aim of the study was to evaluate the independent associations between young adult exposures to risk factors and later life CVD risk, accounting for later life exposures. A total of 36,030 participants were included.
By the time half of the people had been tracked for at least 17 years, participants who had high levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol before age 40 - that is, higher than about 129 milligrams per deciliter of blood - were 64% more likely to have had events like heart attacks compared to people with low LDL levels in early adulthood.
During follow-up, 4,570 participants had events like heart attacks, 5,119 had heart failure events, and 2,862 had strokes.
The study can’t explain whether or how high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol in early adulthood might directly cause heart attacks, strokes or heart failure later in life.
Making healthy choices
Many young adults feel OK, or they’re willing to think—I’m OK now, I will make healthful choices later when I’m older,” said Dr. Andrew Moran, senior author of the study and a researcher at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.
“This study shows that healthy choices matter even in young adults,” Moran said by email. “This means not smoking, eating a healthful diet, and exercising regularly.”