We all know somebody that seemingly eats everything and anything all the time, yet they don't gain any weight. Upon asking them where it all goes, and they reply with a shrug as they begin their fourth plate of food from the local Chinese buffet.
While these individuals may appear to be in shape, they could actually be in as much danger as someone suffering from obesity. And the age of the person doesn’t matter either. Atherosclerosis
, which is the buildup of fat in the walls of arteries, was previously thought to be more prominent in older people; but a new study by the Heart and Stroke Foundation reveals that atherosclerosis is actually affecting a large number of both young men and women – even those who appear to be healthy on outside appearance. Details of the Study
For the study, 168 young adults were enrolled; half male and half female, all between the ages of 18 and 35. These young adults had no known family history of premature heart disease, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, and showed no signs of cardiovascular disease
themselves. To gather data, the researchers from the Heart and Stroke Foundation took comprehensive body measurements like height, weight, waist size, and body mass index (BMI).
Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the team was able to measure different fat deposits inside the body, such as the fat under the skin called subcutaneous fat, stomach and chest fat, and visceral fat. MRIs were also used to measure the volumes of the carotid arteries, which helped measure the severity of atherosclerosis.
The results revealed that while many of the young men and women who were studied appeared perfectly healthy, upon closer inspection there were various subtle signs of atherosclerosis. These signs included a larger average waist circumference, and visceral fat
, which covers the internal organs around the chest and abdomen areas. This type of fat is difficult to detect because it lies deep inside the body, unlike the fat directly under your skin that is much easier to detect. The study's results are further verified by earlier research that found as many as 80 percent of young Americans killed in war or in car accidents had early stages of atherosclerosis.Is there Hope?
So how can you prevent your body from falling victim to this hidden threat? Doctors the world over agree that the same steps taken to prevent or slow obesity can also help atherosclerosis. Health experts stress the importance of healthy eating, regular exercise, constant monitoring of your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and maintaining a healthy body weight. Being smoke-free and limiting your stress, as well as limiting alcohol consumption is also vital to reducing the risk of atherosclerosis.