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Study: High Cholesterol in Middle Age Risky

Having high cholesterol for a long time, even in your 30s and 40s, can increase your risk of heart disease later, a new study finds. Researchers used information from a long-term study. The new study focused on 1,478 adults who had not developed heart or blood vessel disease by age 55. Researchers looked at their past cholesterol test results. They divided people into groups based on how long they were exposed to high cholesterol in middle age. They defined high cholesterol as an LDL ("bad cholesterol") blood level of 130 milligrams per deciliter (mgdL) or more. This is a strict definition. The National Institutes of Health lists 130 as the low end of "borderline high" cholesterol. Researchers kept track of people for an average of 15 years after age 55. In that time, 16.5% of those who had been exposed to high LDL for 11 to 20 years had a heart attack or other heart problems.

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