Even Minor Blockage in Young Adults Increases Heart Attack Risk

Posted On: 02-10-2017
Even Minor Blockage in Young Adults Increases Heart Attack Risk
A new study in JAMA Cardiology demonstrates that young adults with even small amounts of calcified plaque in arteries are at an increased risk of heart attack. Calcified plaque is also referred to as atherosclerosis, or hardened arteries.

The U.S. Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study looked at more than 3,000 participants with an average age of 40 years. CT scans were performed in order to detect the blockages, and the participants were followed for more than 12 years. 30% of the participants showed calcification during the scans. In the 12 years that followed, 165 participants had a stroke, circulatory problems, or heart-related conditions.

The date from the study revealed that even after taking other risk factors into account, those with calcified plaque were at five times greater risk of experiencing cardiovascular problems and had a three times greater risk for heart attack or stroke.

The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Jeffrey Carr, explained that heart disease actually begins in adolescence and early adulthood with the formation of plaque. Dr. Carr is a professor at Vanderbilt University in the fields of radiology, cardiovascular medicine, and biomedical informatics.

The takeaway from this study is that doctors might want to screen patients who have known risk factors of heart disease already, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. It also means that patients need to place importance on healthy diet and exercise.

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