Young adults are more vulnerable to atherosclerosis, a condition that leads to the hardening and narrowing of arteries. A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology sheds light on why this may be the case and what can be done to prevent it.
Researchers at the National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) found that young people’s arteries are more susceptible to damage from factors such as high cholesterol and blood pressure. This is because they have less exposure to aging, which weakens the artery walls and makes them more prone to damage.
The study highlights the need for aggressive control of risk factors among young adults. This means starting interventions earlier than previously thought, before any signs of disease appear. It also means changing primary prevention strategies to focus on early intervention rather than waiting for symptoms to develop.
The good news is that atherosclerosis can be reversed if caught early and managed aggressively. Lifestyle modifications such as diet changes, reducing alcohol consumption, and lowering salt intake can help control cholesterol levels and blood pressure. If these measures are not effective, pharmacological treatments may be necessary.
The authors of the study urge for early screening for subclinical atherosclerosis and aggressive management of risk factors to alleviate the global burden of cardiovascular disease. They recommend screening for cholesterol or atheroma plaques in the carotid or femoral arteries to identify those at risk and begin aggressive risk factor management.
With this new information, young adults can take steps now to protect their heart health in the future. By making lifestyle changes and seeking medical attention when necessary, they can reduce their risk of developing atherosclerosis later in life.