The cause of coronary artery disease may in fact occur much earlier in life than many people realize. According to a study released by the New England Journal of Medicine, those with risk factors earlier on in life are more likely to develop the condition or even die from it later on. In short, if you have minor risk factors mid-life, chances are good you'll develop coronary artery disease or another form of cardiovascular disease in your lifetime.
According to the study, which pulled data from 18 previous studies over the last 50 years to compile data, health professionals should provide more attention and prevention methods to younger and middle-aged people if they exhibit early risk factors. If health professionals and patients accounted for these risk factors at the age of 40, for example, and made changes, they could help prevent coronary artery disease from occurring. The long-term risks must be the focus, not just short-term risks, the study's authors conclude.
What Is Coronary Artery Disease?
Coronary artery disease is a condition that develops within the coronary arteries running to the heart. These blood vessels supply the heart with blood, oxygen and the nutrients necessary to function. Plaque, a substance made of cholesterol, builds up along the coronary walls and narrows the passageways into the heart, thus keeping oxygen-rich blood from flowing to the heart properly. As a result, angina, shortness of breath and, ultimately when the passageway becomes blocked, a heart attack can occur.
Coronary artery disease develops over decades. As the study indicates, those at risk for this condition at a younger age may be able to prevent the onset of it or other forms of cardiovascular disease by reversing those risk factors.
Risk Factors to Watch For
According to the Mayo Clinic, those at risk for developing coronary artery disease include the following:
Those who smoke are more at risk since the chemicals constrict the blood vessels and damage them.
Men are at more of a risk than women are, but for women, the risks go up after menopause.
As you age, the arteries narrow, putting older people more at risk for the condition.
Early warning signs may include those who suffer from high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels early in life. Both conditions wear on the arteries, worsening the condition.
Diabetes suffers are more at risk of developing the condition.
Those who are obese are more likely to develop it.
Those who lack physical exercise on a daily basis are more at risk.
Individuals struggling with high stress levels are more likely at risk.
According to the study, individuals displaying any of these risk factors can and should take steps to reduce them in order to prevent the onset of the condition. While you may not be able to control hereditary factors or getting old, improving your lifestyle choices, even while you are in your 30's and 40's can help significantly reduce your chance of developing coronary artery disease.
Disclaimer:The information provided is for educational and communication purposes only and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. The information published in this article is not intended to replace, supplement or augment a consultation with a health professional regarding the reader's own medical care. Sime Darby Healthcare excludes all liability on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in the article. Sime Darby Healthcare disclaims all responsibilities for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.
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