Doctor Warns That Teens Are Already Clogging Their Arteries

Along with getting their driver’s licenses and posting the perfect TikTok video, there’s something else teenagers should worry about: heart disease. 

Dr. Robert Lager, president of the cardiac practice MedStar Cardiology Associates, says that there’s a rise in teenagers with plaque buildup in their arteries. This could lead to a greater chance of heart disease and complications later in their life.

“We see, actually, the beginnings of cholesterol plaque formation in teenage years,” Lager told WTOP. “Aggressive heart disease prevention should begin in childhood; it shouldn’t wait until you’re an older person.”

Lager said that research shows one in six teens already have a significant amount of plaque in their arteries. The Cleveland Clinic conducted a separate survey that found few people could identify the risk factors for heart disease.

“Smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, drug use — 65 percent couldn’t identify any of them, which is pretty amazing,” Lager told WTOP

Smoking is perhaps the biggest driver for heart disease among younger people, according to Lager. In fact, he says smoking and secondhand smoke is the “most important risk factor for developing heart artery disease.”

It’s unsettling, but the solution is the same straightforward stuff your parents tell you to do: don’t smoke, eat healthy foods, and work out every once in a while. On top of that, Lager said, it’s also important to get your cholesterol tested starting in your twenties.

Yeah, it’s boring — but boring is much better than dead.

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