New research suggests that young people may be more susceptible to the damaging effects of risk factors for developing atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Elevated blood cholesterol and hypertension were found to have a particularly significant impact on atherosclerosis progression in younger individuals. These findings highlight the importance of implementing aggressive control of cardiovascular risk factors at a younger age.
The study, conducted by the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC), was co-led by Dr. Valentín Fuster and Dr. Borja Ibáñez. It involved analyzing the progression of subclinical atherosclerosis in over 4,000 apparently healthy middle-aged individuals. The participants underwent a comprehensive noninvasive analysis of their carotid, femoral, and coronary arteries, as well as the aorta.
The results showed that even mild to moderate increases in blood pressure and cholesterol levels had a more pronounced impact on atherosclerosis progression in younger people. This indicates the need for early screening and aggressive management of risk factors to reduce the global burden of cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Fuster emphasized the importance of screening for subclinical atherosclerosis from an early age and implementing effective risk-factor control strategies. Dr. Ibáñez added that personalized approaches, incorporating imaging technology to monitor the presence and progression of silent atherosclerosis, could guide the intensity of risk-factor control.
One of the key findings of the study was that atherosclerosis, previously thought to be irreversible, can actually disappear if risk factors are controlled from an early stage. These findings open up new possibilities for cardiovascular prevention and personalized medicine.
Overall, this research highlights the significance of managing cardiovascular risk factors in young individuals to prevent the progression of atherosclerosis. By identifying and controlling risk factors early on, it may be possible to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and improve the overall health outcomes of individuals.