A person’s cholesterol level at age 45 could predict the risk of having a stroke or cardiovascular disease.

High cholesterol levels are one of the first risks of cardiovascular disease. However, few people think about having it checked for prevention. However, a study published in The Lancet shows that high levels of “bad” cholesterol (or LDL cholesterol) in the blood are associated with an increased risk of stroke or cardiovascular problems.

A higher risk at 45 years of age than at 60 years of age

For this study, researchers from the universities of Hamburg (Germany) and Belfast (Ireland) collected data from nearly 400,000 people in 19 countries. They concluded that a high rate of “bad cholesterol” in people under 45 years of age represents a higher risk of heart attack or stroke as early as age 75 than a high cholesterol level at age 60.

The explanation, according to the authors of this study, is that younger adults who already have high cholesterol can expect damage to accumulate over a longer period of time. They estimate that managing cholesterol as early as age 45 could reduce the risk of heart problems by 6 to 29% later.