Young Adults Unaware of Risk of Developing Heart Disease, Study Suggests

Researchers warned that young adults are facing a high risk of developing heart disease and suffering from stroke, which could lead to death. The new study revealed that most young adults are unaware of the fact that they may be suffering from an undetected atherosclerosis—thickening of the arteries.

The study conducted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada examined 84 men and 84 women, aged 18 to 35. The researchers carefully selected their test participants who were neither suffering from any heart disease nor other related illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

While none of the participants displayed signs of developing atherosclerosis, many of them showed telltale signs of developing heart problems such as dangerous visceral fat and greater waist circumference.

Dr. Eric Larose of Laval University in Canada said, “The proportion of young, apparently healthy adults who are presumably ‘the picture of health' who already have atherosclerosis is staggering.”

The researchers also revealed that visceral fat can also be used as a predictor for a likelihood of atherosclerosis; it is better than just checking a person's body mass index (BMI). The higher the amount of visceral fat, the higher the risk of atherosclerosis, Dr. Larose emphasized. He added that assessing the amount of visceral fat is just a matter of determining one's waist circumference.

Dr. Beth Abramson, spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, cautions young adults to take good care of their health. “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.”