MONDAY, June 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Poor cardiovascular health in young adulthood is associated with subsequent cardiovascular disease (CVD), but improving cardiovascular health over time can attenuate this risk, according to a research letter published online June 14 in Circulation.

Hokyou Lee, M.D., from Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues analyzed data from individuals aged 20 to 39 years in 2003 and 2004. Participants were categorized based on the number of nondietary ideal cardiovascular health (CVH) components from the American Heart Association Life’s Simple 7 metrics. Data were included for 3,565,189 participants.

The researchers identified 39,165 first CVD events during a median follow-up period of 16.1 years, all of which occurred at age 55 years or younger. The highest cumulative incidence of CVD events was seen for the baseline CVH score of 0 (0.23 percent); incidence rates for CVD events were <0.02 percent per year for individuals with the highest CVH score of 6. Compared with those with a CVH score of 0, participants with baseline CVH scores of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 had a 26, 49, 65, 75, 82, and 85 percent lower risk for CVD events, respectively, after multivariable adjustment. In a subgroup of participants who underwent health examinations in 2003 to 2004 and in 2005 to 2008, an increase in the CVH score from baseline was associated with a reduced risk for CVD events (hazard ratio, 0.79 per 1-point increase).

“We need strategies to help preserve or restore heart health in this population because we know poor heart health in young adults is linked to premature cardiovascular disease,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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