Hidden cardiovascular disease 'could affect young people'

25 October 2011

Young people could be at risk of heart disease due to a hidden condition often associated with older patients, a study has found.

Researchers at Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Quebec and Universite Laval in Canada have found that hidden thickening of the walls in the arteries may cause heart disease or a stroke.

The study by the Heart and Stroke Foundation said the build-up of fat in the blood vessels - also known as atherosclerosis - can lead to serious medical problems if not spotted early or left untreated.

As part of the study, 169 young adults aged between 18 and 35 were tested for cardiovascular problems and the artery condition.

Researchers took body measurements to weigh up risk factors and found that although a large proportion of subjects did not have traditional risk factors for atherosclerosis, they did have discrete signs such as a greater waist circumference and visceral fat covering the internal organs.

Dr Eric Larose, leader of the study, said: "The proportion of young, apparently healthy adults who are presumably 'the picture of health' who already have atherosclerosis is staggering."

According to the British Heart Foundation, around six in ten adults in England have high blood cholesterol levels and many are not taking action to prevent it worsening.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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