The Grapevine

Your Blood Pressure Levels Before 40 Indicate Bigger Heart Disease Risk

It’s not only the fond memories you form in your youth that you take into your older years. It’s also your health and the habit of exercising.

Put in another way, exercise while you’re still young. A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and issued Monday, found that elevated diastolic blood pressure and "bad" LDL cholesterol before age 40 were associated with incidents of coronary heart disease (CHD) after age 40.

On the other hand, elevated systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure before 40 were associated with incidents of heart failure after 40.

"What was surprising was to see the strong association on young adult high LDL cholesterol and later life events -- even after accounting for later life cholesterol level," said Dr. Andrew Moran, a principal investigator at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York and senior author of the study.

"We were also surprised at the association of young adult blood pressure with later life heart failure," he said. "It was a novel finding and striking because many heart failure events occurs in older age."

Dr. Moran said the main take-home point of the study for young adults: “Don't wait to make healthy choices.”

These striking findings lead to one common conclusion: more preventive efforts among younger adults.

The study called for the medical community "to wake up" and recognize that preventive efforts are needed among younger adults.

"Young adults, particularly women and non-white individuals, have not shared in the overall reduction in cardiovascular disease rates over the last several decades and are less likely to receive guideline-based care," wrote Dr. Samuel Gidding, of the Familial Hypercholesterolemia Foundation in Pasadena, California, and Dr. Jennifer Robinson, a professor at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Both co-authored an editorial published alongside the new study.

Exercise Regular exercise offers a number of benefits, from better health, bonding to better understanding your body. Pixabay

They believe the time has come to recognize preventive interventions are occurring too late in life to have a substantial impact on the population burden of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and heart failure.

"By moving to trials in younger higher-risk individuals who have less advanced disease more amenable to reversal, and developing precision medicine strategies based on genetics, imaging, and other risk factors, the next era of cardiovascular disease prevention can begin."

Among the key take-aways from the study:

* A level of "bad" LDL cholesterol at 100 mg/dL or higher as a young adult is associated with a 64 percent increased risk for CHD later in life.

* A systolic blood pressure of 130 mm Hg or higher is associated with a 37 percent increased risk of heart failure later in life and a diastolic blood pressure of 80 mm Hg or higher is associated with a 21 percent increased risk.

* Normal blood pressure levels are less than 120 systolic and 80 diastolic (or 120/80), according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A healthy level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is less than 100mg/dL.

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