Preventing health problems means early identification. You know you need to care for your heart as you age, but what about when you’re younger?
The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published an interesting study revealing a strong correlation between high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure in younger adults and future heart disease events.
The article shows that you could have a 64% increase in your heart disease risk later in life if you have “bad” LDL cholesterol of 100 or higher when you’re under 40. Higher-than-normal blood pressure over normal readings could have a similar impact.
I’m sure it’s not surprising that at an early life elevated cholesterol and blood pressure would be associated with increased risk of future heart disease. But this study is an important reminder of why you shouldn’t wait to take care of your heart.
And it pinpoints a few interesting points in evaluating and dealing with abnormal blood pressure and cholesterol in youngsters.
- We know the blood pressure less than 120/80 is considered normal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Interestingly, the study shows the correlation of elevated diastolic blood pressure in young people and later heart disease events. This means that watching and monitoring the diastolic blood pressure is very important for youngsters. A diastolic blood pressure less than 70 is ideal. Different medications and drug regimens are shown to be beneficial in decreasing the diastolic blood pressure versus the systolic blood pressure in elderly people.
- This study emphasizes the approach of checking and not ignoring a young adult’s cholesterol level during normal physicals. If elevated cholesterol level is found, then lifestyle changes as well as medications could be a good approach for prevention.
The earlier we start taking care of our hearts, the better off we are.
Want to learn more about your risk for heart disease? Take a free, quick online assessment by clicking here.
Dr. Irina Staicu is a cardiologist with Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill.