People who are young and healthy may still be vulnerable to the risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease if they have higher levels of bad cholesterol, according to a new research.
Bad cholesterol, or LDL, contributes to clogged arteries which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The findings showed that compared with participants who had LDL readings of under 100 mg/dL, those with LDL levels in the range of 100-159 mg/dL had a 30 – 40% higher risk of cardiovascular disease death.
Those with LDL levels of 160 mg/dL or higher had a 70 – 90 % increased risk of cardiovascular death, compared with participants who had LDL readings of under 100 mg/dL.
“Our study demonstrates that having a low 10-year estimated cardiovascular disease risk does not eliminate the risk posed by elevated LDL over the course of a lifetime,” said lead author Shuaib Abdullah, from the University of Texas in the US.
“High cholesterol at younger ages means there will be a greater burden of cardiovascular disease as these individuals age,” added Robert Eckel, from the University of Colorado in the US.
The study, published in the journal Circulation, included 36,375 young, relatively healthy participants who were free of diabetes or cardiovascular disease and were followed for 27 years.
Among the group (72% men with an average age 42 years), there were 1,086 deaths from cardiovascular disease such as stroke, and 598 coronary heart disease deaths.
“Those with low risk should pursue lifestyle interventions, such as diet and exercise, to achieve LDL levels as low as possible, preferably under 100 mg/dL.
“Limiting saturated fat intake, maintaining a healthy weight, discontinuing tobacco use, and increasing aerobic exercises should apply to everyone,” Abdullah said.