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Roundup: Prediabetes Rising in Young People; Oral Health and Your Heart; and Controlling Cholesterol Earlier

Prediabetes Rising Among Young Adults, Adolescents, New Study Finds

Nearly a quarter of young adults, ages 19 to 34, and a fifth of adolescents, ages 12 to 18, in the United States have prediabetes, a possible precursor to type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics [1].

Prediabetes means a person’s blood glucose (sugar) level is higher than normal, but not high enough yet for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. If left untreated, prediabetes can progress into type 2 diabetes. About 1 in 3 U.S. adults has prediabetes. Individuals with this condition may also be at a higher risk for chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease.

“It is important to monitor the prevalence of prediabetes and varying levels of glucose tolerance to assess the future risk of type 2 diabetes in the youngest segment of the population,” researchers concluded.

Researchers said that the prevalence of prediabetes in young adults and adolescents has increased over the past decade, putting young people at risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and other conditions later in their lives.

“Until recently, young children and teens almost never got type 2 diabetes, which is why it used to be called adult-onset diabetes,” states the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Now, about one-third of American youth are overweight, a problem closely related to the increase in kids with type 2 diabetes, some as young as 10 years old.”

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Brushing Your Teeth 3 Times a Day Can Reduce Heart Failure Risk

Brushing your teeth may have added benefits, including reducing your risk of heart failure by lowering the amount of harmful bacteria in the mouth, a new study has found.

Overall, there has been increasing evidence in recent years of the link between oral health and improved cardiovascular health. Now, a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology [4] suggests that regular tooth-brushing — three times a day — may reduce your risk of developing heart failure and atrial fibrillation (A-fib) — a type of arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat.

Researchers looked at data from 161,286 people who were part of the Korean National Health Insurance System-Health Screening Cohort. The participants were 40–79 years old and had no history of either A-fib or heart failure when they enrolled in the program between 2003 and 2004. Over a median follow-up period of 10.5 years, 4,911 participants received a diagnosis of A-fib, and 7,971 developed heart failure.

Brushing the teeth three times or more a day was linked with a 10 percent lower chance of developing A-fib and a 12 percent lower risk of heart failure, researchers found.

Researchers accounted for other factors that may affect results, such as age, sex, socioeconomic status, physical activity, alcohol intake, body mass index, and other coexisting conditions, such as high blood pressure.

Previous studies have found oral bacteria in the blood clots of patients receiving emergency treatment for stroke. Researchers have also linked severe gum disease with a significantly higher risk of high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

A-fib affects nearly 3 million people in the U.S. Patients with A-fib cannot efficiently pump blood to the rest of the body because the heart does not beat regularly. A-fib can be especially serious when accelerated or irregular heartbeat presents with shortness of breath after light physical activity or lightheadedness, dizziness, or unusual fatigue.

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Lowering Cholesterol Levels at Younger Age Helps Prevent Heart-Related Events Later, Study Finds

If you’re 45 or younger, you should make sure your levels of “bad cholesterol” is under control to avoid heart problems later in life, according to a study published in the medical journal the Lancet [7].

Researchers studied the records of nearly 400,000 people, ranging in age from 30 to 85 years, from 19 countries. They were tracked for a median of 13.5 years. The study found that women under the age of 45 with non-HDL cholesterol levels that were less than optimal had a 16 percent probability of having a non-fatal heart event, like a heart attack, or stroke by the time they turned 75. These women had at least two additional risk factors for heart disease, such as being. In older women with the same risk factors, the risk was 12 percent.

In men, the contrast was wider. For men under 45 with those same cardiovascular risk factors, the risk of non-fatal heart attack or stroke was 29 percent. For men 60 and older,the risk was 21 percent..

Researchers calculated that if people under-45 age reduce their non-HDL cholesterol levels in half, they could dramatically lower their risk of heart events later in life, from about 29 percent to 6 percent for men and 16 percent to 4 percent for women — despite other heart disease risk factors.

Non-HDL cholesterol is your total cholesterol value minus your HDL, or “good,” cholesterol.

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