Health Watch - Heart Disease: Young People

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean we can forget about matters of the heart, so this week on Health Watch, we’ll talk about heart disease. Even if you’re still in your 20s, you need to be thinking about your heart.

Although heart disease mostly affects older people, the damage can start early in life. Hardening of the arteries can begin as early as the teen years. Because of this, people should start having their cholesterol tested when they’re 20, with follow-up tests every five years. Dr. Anand Rohatgi, a cardiologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says young people who have low levels of HDL – or “good” – cholesterol or moderately high levels of LDL – the “bad” cholesterol – can adjust their lifestyles to lower long-term heart disease risks. They can eat less saturated fat and cholesterol and eat more soluble fiber to improve their cholesterol levels


March 2010

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