Don’t wait till you cross 50 to check cholesterol. It is better to check cholesterol in your 20s as it can help forecast the individual’s risk of ever having a stroke or heart disease over a lifetime.
A recent study has recommended that early checking and action to reduce cholesterol levels through appropriate modifications of the diet and lifestyle, and medication.
The researchers retrieved data on cholesterol levels, gender, age, other risk factors for CVD like smoking, diabetes, height, weight, and blood pressure, on almost 300 000 people from 19 countries around the world, contained in the Multinational Cardiovascular Risk Consortium dataset.
They analyzed these variables and found that the levels of LDL were strongly associated with the risk of CVD over a period beginning in early adult life and stretching over the next 40-plus years. They also found a way to estimate long-term risk for CVD events with respect to non-HDL levels. Thirdly, they built a model to estimate how much benefit might accrue in case people without CVD at the time of intervention were treated with lipid-lowering drugs or other strategies.
The researchers found that the risk in men and women under 45 years could dip sharply to 6% and 4%, instead of the previous 30% and 16%, respectively, if the non-HDL cholesterol was reduced by half. This held true even if other risk factors like body weight were still present.