High cholesterol in 30s may double risk of heart disease later

People can have high cholesterol regardless of age or weight, so it often goes undetected. Now, a study from Duke University, Boston University and McGill University found that people with above average cholesterol levels beginning in their 30s may double their chance of heart disease by the time they’re in their 60s.

Researchers looked at the Framingham Heart Study, which analyzed the heart health of thousands of adults beginning in 1948. The Duke team narrowed their analysis to 1,500 adults currently in their 70s but who did not exhibit heart disease when they were 55.

People who had high cholesterol for 10 years prior to 55 had 16.5 percent of developing heart disease after age 55. However, people who monitored their cholesterol levels when they were younger had only a 4.4 percent risk of developing heart disease after age 55. Additionally, each decade of high cholesterol levels in a person increased their risk of heart disease by 40 percent.

So what is considered high cholesterol? The researchers categorized elevated cholesterol levels as reading 160 mg/dL or higher for non-HDL cholesterol. But similar results were also found in people with a LDL cholesterol of 130 mg/dL or higher.

The study recommends people begin monitoring their cholesterol levels when they’re young adults and focus on combatting high cholesterol levels through diet and exercise.

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Sourced from: livescience.com, Gen X and Y: Why You Need to Watch Your Cholesterol Now