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November 2, 2011

Atherosclerosis in Young Adults

Nitric oxide, atherosclerosisAre You Too Young for Atherosclerosis?

A recent study out of the University of Quebec looked at young adults 18-35 and reported findings that should shock you.  The individuals in the studies had none of the risk factors that we normally associate with atherosclerosis; high cholesterol, blood pressure elevation or a family history.

What they found was that a huge percentage of them even at this young age all ready had significant atherosclerotic build up in their vessels. This is the same vascular disease seen in older adults that we associate with heart attacks. The study is significant due to the fact that we don’t think of young adults suffering from atherosclerosis and falsely presume that it only occurs in the late 40s on. Boy were we wrong.

One significant finding, some were found to have an increased waist circumference with visceral fat covering their internal organs. These individuals all have increased incidence of atherosclerosis.

Who’s at Risk for Atherosclerosis?

In the past young people have been given a pass, no need to worry ” Your young there is plenty of time to change to a healthy lifestyle.” Now we know that this isn’t the case, a healthy lifestyle needs to be followed from the time they are children. We know that 18 year olds were in this study, what about 16 year olds or 14, when does it start ?

Right now, childhood obesity is an epidemic, with type II diabetes becoming common place in children, this was rare in the past. We are facing a national problem with atherosclerosis as well. We need to address this problem today.

Why are we at risk ? Because we continue to eat poorly, fast food or doughnuts in the morning , poor selections at lunch followed by pizza and burgers at night, all washed down with sugar-water.  AHHHH. Notice I didn’t mention after workout meals, because there is no significant work out going on. So ask me again who’s at risk, all of us the people making bad choices and the people paying the bills.


The number one thing is to start your children out on the right foot by changing their diet to a more balanced low glycemic paleolithic one. Pull the sodas from the fridge and skip the fast food. Of course this requires action to be taken by the adults and thereby increases the degree of difficulty of parenting and time committment but they are your children.

Exercise in the young years could be as simple as going for a walk or bike ride or even disguised as walking the dog. If we don’t make this change the number of children and young adults with significant health problems is going to sky-rocket. Pay me now or pay me later  works here but you’re paying your self and the lives of your children. So get up off the couch grab the rug rats and go for a walk, you might even find out somethings about them that you didn’t know.

Habits started young will be easy to continue through adult hood. and leave them with a long healthy life. Plus you can record X-factor and House wives to watch after they go to bed.


See related articles.

“How High Blood Sugar Causes Vascular Disease”

“Vitamin K: Protect Your Bones and Prevent Cardiovascular Disease”

“Testosterone and Cardiovascular Disease”

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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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