Cholesterol in Young Men

By George Grow

This is Bill White with the VOA Special English SCIENCE REPORT.

An American study has shown that younger men with high cholesterol levels face long-term risks of dying from heart disease. Research scientists say the finding supports the idea of early cholesterol testing. They say young people who have high cholesterol should begin taking steps to reduce their risk of heart disease.

Other studies have shown that high cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease. Until now, it was not clear if cholesterol could influence the health of young adults.

Heart disease is a leading killer. The World Health Organization says heart disease was responsible for thirty percent of all deaths five years ago. WHO officials say it will cause forty percent of all deaths in twenty years.

Cholesterol is a kind of fat that develops in the blood. It causes the build-up of a substance called plaque in blood vessels. Experts say cholesterol levels of less than two-hundred milligrams per deciliter of blood are desirable. Larger amounts of what experts call bad cholesterol can interfere with the flow of blood. This can cause high blood pressure. It may lead to a heart attack or stroke.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reported the new findings by Jeremiah Stamler and a team from Northwestern Medical School in Chicago, Illinois. They examined information from three long-term studies. The studies involved more than eighty-thousand men. Each man had his cholesterol level measured when he was between eighteen and thirty-nine years of age. Each man's cholesterol was measured again up to thirty-four years later.

The researchers examined information about men younger than forty years old. The researchers compared men who had low cholesterol levels to those with high cholesterol. They found the men with high cholesterol were almost four times more likely to die of heart disease than men with low cholesterol.

The researchers also found that men with low cholesterol were more likely to live longer than men with high cholesterol. Men with low cholesterol lived between four and nine years longer.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published a commentary with the findings. It suggested that adults twenty years of age or older should get their cholesterol measured at least once every five years.

This VOA Special English SCIENCE REPORT was written by George Grow. This is Bill White.

Voice of America Special English