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A clinical study was done to determine how early in life heart disease starts.

The study is titled "Prevalence and Extent of Atherosclerosis in Adolescents and Young Adults" published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) and dated 1999; 281:727-735

The Study

 A total of 2876 study subjects, between 15 and 34 years old, black and white, men and women, who died of external causes and underwent autopsy between June 1, 1987, and August 31, 1994.

The Results

Intimal lesions appeared in all the aortas and more than half of the right coronary arteries of the youngest age group (15-19 years).  They increased in prevalence and extent with age through the oldest age group (30-34 years).

The Conclusion

Atherosclerosis begins in youth.  Fatty streaks and clinically significant raised lesions in the arteries increase rapidly in prevalence and extent during the 15- to 34-year age span. Primary prevention of atherosclerosis contrasted with primary prevention of clinically manifest atherosclerotic disease begins in childhood or adolescence.

In other words, everyone has atherosclerosis by the time they become a teenager. By the time they reach 30, they have more and larger dangerous lesions (blockages).


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