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Why young people should check their cholesterol

 

Narrator:        This is Science Today. Young people who have even modestly elevated cholesterol levels are more likely to develop heart disease later in life. Those were the findings of a new study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. Epidemiologist Mark Pletcher says they studied young adults in their 20s and 30s.

Pletcher:        The fact that your cholesterol levels early in life matter in terms of causing damage that really lasts through into middle age when you start becoming at risk for heart attacks, it sort of provides a missing link in cholesterol-heart disease research that connects up early life exposure to later life risk.

Narrator:        Pletcher says their study suggests a stronger emphasis on early lifestyle intervention.

Pletcher:        Like eating a healthy diet and exercising. We know that it makes sense to do that in middle age, but now we know that it matters also during young adulthood. So, we think that young adults should probably know what their cholesterol level is and try to optimize it early in life to prevent heart attacks later in life.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.