(HealthDay News) — Young adult exposures to elevated systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP and DBP) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) are associated with increased risks for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in later life, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Yiyi Zhang, PhD, from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues pooled data from 6 US cohorts with a total of 36,030 participants to examine independent associations between young adult exposures to risk factors and later-life CVD risk, while accounting for later-life exposures. For every participant, risk factor trajectories were imputed for LDL and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and SBP and DBP from age 18 years.

The researchers identified 4570 coronary heart disease (CHD), 5119 heart failure, and 2862 stroke events during a median follow-up of 17 years. Independent of later adult exposures, young adult LDL ≥100 mg/dL versus <100 mg/dL correlated with a 64% increased risk for CHD when young and later adult risk factors were considered jointly in the model. Young adult SBP ≥130 mm Hg versus <120 mm Hg and DBP ≥80 mm Hg versus <80 mm Hg correlated with increased risks for heart failure of 37 and 21%, respectively.

“These findings suggest that investment now in programs to control modifiable risk factors during young adulthood has the potential to reduce the future burden of CVD,” the authors write.

References

Zhang Y, Vittinghoff E, Pletcher MJ, et al. Associations of Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels During Young Adulthood With Later Cardiovascular Events. J Am Coll Cardiol. 74;3. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2019.03.529

Gidding SS and Robinson J. It Is Now Time to Focus on Risk Before Age 40. J Am Coll Cardiol. 74;3. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2019.03.529