Young people may be more susceptible to the harmful effects of factors that promote atherosclerosis, according to research carried out at the National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC). These people are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of high cholesterol and blood pressure. The cause for this susceptibility is not known, but researchers believe that the arteries of younger people are more virgin, have been less exposed to aging, and are therefore more susceptible to damage as a result of high cholesterol and blood pressure.
The results of this research, published in the ‘Journal of the American College of Cardiology,’ highlight the need for aggressive control of risk factors to begin at an earlier age in life. The researchers suggest changing primary prevention strategies to address this need. In response to the study, experts from the University of Chicago and Wake Forest University-Winston Salem emphasize the importance of early detection and aggressive modification of risk factors in preventing cardiovascular disease.
The research also suggests that atherosclerosis can be reversed, even at a young age. Lifestyle modifications, including diet, cessation of alcohol consumption, and reduction of salt consumption, can play a role in controlling risk factors. If lifestyle changes aren’t effective, pharmacological treatments for both cholesterol and blood pressure are also recommended.
The authors of the study propose early screening for subclinical atherosclerosis and aggressive risk factor control as a way to alleviate the global burden of cardiovascular disease. They recommend an aggressive approach to lowering cholesterol levels and controlling blood pressure through lifestyle changes and, if necessary, pharmacological treatments. It is estimated that 30% of people between 40 and 45 years old have atherosclerosis in some arterial segment, making early screening and intervention critical.