-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- A new study warns that
many young adults have undetected thickening of the arteries -- or
atherosclerosis -- which can lead to heart disease, stroke and
Researchers examined 84 young men and 84 young women, aged 18 to
35, with no known cardiovascular disease or risk factors such as
diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol or
family history of premature heart disease.
Even though the participants had none of these traditional risk
factors for atherosclerosis, many had other signs of the condition
such as greater waist circumference and dangerous visceral fat
covering the internal organs within the abdomen and chest,
according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada study.
The findings, presented Oct. 25 at the Canadian Cardiovascular
Congress in Vancouver, verify earlier research that found that as
many as 80 percent of young Americans killed in war or in car
accidents had premature and hidden (subclinical)
"The proportion of young, apparently healthy adults who are presumably 'the picture of health' who already have atherosclerosis is staggering," study author Dr. Eric Larose, an interventional cardiologist and an assistant professor at Laval University in Canada, said in a foundation news release.
The findings show that measures of visceral fat are greater
predictors of atherosclerosis than simply checking body mass index
(BMI), a measurement that takes into account height and weight.
People with higher amounts of visceral fat have more
atherosclerosis -- even if they're young and apparently healthy --
and can benefit from preventive changes in lifestyle.
"We know obesity is a bad thing but we're dropping the ball on a large proportion of young adults who don't meet traditional measures of obesity such as weight and BMI," Larose said.
He noted that assessing visceral fat levels is easy to do in a
doctor's office. It's just a matter of measuring waist
"My message to young adults is that you are not superhuman, you're not immune to risk factors," Dr. Beth Abramson, a foundation spokesperson, said in the news release. "It's important to manage your risk factors at all ages. Lifestyle will eventually catch up with you. You are never too young to prevent heart disease."
Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary
until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about
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