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Heart Disease and Youth? PDF Print E-mail

‘Staggering’ number of young people at risk, study finds’

Young people who may be the "picture of health" could be hiding a deep dark secret inside their bodies, according to a new study from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

The study found that atherosclerosis, a buildup of fat in the artery walls, which can lead to heart disease, stroke, or death, is affecting more and more young people and they don’t even know it.

Dr. Eric Larose, an interventional cardiologist at the Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Quebec and an assistant professor at Laval University, said the numbers from the study are "staggering."

While participants’ height and weight were measured, researchers also performed MRIs to measure body fat deposits, such as subcutaneous fat, and fat in and around the abdomen and chest.  MRIs were also used to look at the atherosclerosis volume of the carotid arteries.

Although many people did not have "traditional" risk factors for atherosclerosis, more discrete signs such as greater waist circumference and visceral fat covering the internal organs in the chest and abdomen were found in a large number of participants.

Even if someone has a normal weight and BMI for their size and age, if they have a greater amount of visceral fat they can be at greater risk for heart attacks and strokes later on.

Winnipeg Free Press
Wednesday, October 26, 2011

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