The results of a 20 year study bring to light the importance of healthy diet and lifestyle from an early age. Elevated cholesterol levels in young adults in their 20's and 30's were predictive of the development of coronary artery calcium and atherosclerosis later in life.
Coronary Artery Disease Begins During Childhood
Researchers now understand that coronary artery disease (CAD) begins to develop from early childhood, and dietary and lifestyle interventions are required early in life to reduce the risk of heart disease in middle age. According to Mark J. Pletcher, MD, MPH, the lead study author, 'We don't usually worry too much about heart disease risk until a person is in middle age because it's rare to have a heart attack in young adulthood'.
Evidence published in the Annals of Internal Medicine demonstrates that lasting damage can accumulate from early adulthood, placing individuals at much higher risk of developing heart disease and suffering a heart attack, as well as the importance of monitoring biomarkers for CAD at a much earlier age. 3,258 men and women aged 18 to 30 were regularly tested for levels of low and high density lipoproteins (LDL and HDL) cholesterol, and then a Coronary Artery Calcium scan was performed when the participants were 45 years old.
LDL Cholesterol Linked with Plaque Buildup
Researchers discovered that 44% of those individuals who averaged LDL cholesterol greater than 160 mg/dl had calcification in their arteries, compared to only 8% with LDL levels of 70 mg/dl or less. The study demonstrated that LDL readings between 100 to 129 mg/dl were associated with a significantly higher risk of atherosclerosis, and 65% of the participants fell into this danger range.
Atherosclerosis is indicative of developing plaque and narrowing of the coronary arteries, and leads to increased risk of heart attack and stroke. The authors of this study did not go so far as to recommend a lifetime of statin drugs for those individuals with elevated LDL levels, due to the questionable benefits and potential harmful side effects of such a treatment. Medical research supports avoidance of statins due to potential health consequences including muscle deterioration and liver damage.
Lipid research is highlighting the importance of moderating our consumption of foods rich in sugar and refined carbohydrates, as these foods correlate with dramatically increased levels of atherogenic lipoproteins in the blood. Limiting the excessive quantities of processed carbohydrates and junk food which comprise the core of many diets from a young age will prevent heart disease and move people toward natural health. Educating children about proper diet and healthy lifestyle will prevent them from developing coronary artery disease, the leading cause of death today.
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John Phillip is a Health Researcher and Author of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan', a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise and Targeted Supplementation to naturally achieve your healthy Weight Loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to download your Free 48 page copy.