Slightly high cholesterol in mid-life 'risky for heart'

Having even slightly raised cholesterol in mid-life significantly increases a person's risk of heart disease, research reveals.

For every decade a person has even mildly elevated cholesterol between the ages of 35 and 55, their risk of heart disease could go up by nearly 40%, the study found.

Leaving cholesterol unchecked is not a wise option, say the authors who followed nearly 1,500 people.

"Lipid years" take a toll, they say.


While not every person with mild or moderately raised cholesterol will need to start on drug treatment, they might benefit from changing their diet and getting more exercise, says Dr Ann Marie Navar-Boggan, lead author of the research paper, published in the journal Circulation.

It's never too early to start thinking about your heart health”

Doireann Maddock of the British Heart Foundation

What we do to our blood vessels in our 20s, 30s and 40s lays the foundation for disease in later life, and if we wait until our 50s or 60s to think about heart disease prevention, an important opportunity is already lost, she says.

Too much cholesterol in your blood can lead to a gradual build-up of fatty material in the walls of your blood vessels and restrict the flow of blood to your heart, brain and body.

In time, your arteries can become so diseased that you experience heart pain, called angina, or suffer a heart attack.

Guidelines were recently updated to recommend that millions more people should be offered cholesterol-lowering medication to save more lives.

Heart disease death rates have been falling, but more rapidly in older age groups than in younger ones and morbidity appears to be increasing.

Source: BBC