If you’re young, making an appointment to get your cholesterol levels checked may have never even crossed your mind. But knowing these important numbers can have a huge impact on your health—and can even decrease your risk of having a stroke.
“Clearly, something big is happening with stroke and young people,” Diana Greene-Chandos, MD, told Self. “This is a growing problem, especially because many people still think that strokes just don’t happen to people under age 45.”
“This is a growing problem, especially because many people still think that strokes just don’t happen to people under age 45.”
While strokes are popularly viewed as an “old person’s” condition, the risk is actually decreasing for aging adults because they’re on top of their tests. Young people, on the other hand, often don’t see the need to get their cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar checked, and that’s exactly what’s causing the issue.
“Someone in her 20s usually doesn’t think about something like blood pressure unless there’s a problem,” Koto Ishida, MD, told Self. “She might only go to the doctor when she’s sick, and if she doesn’t get sick, she doesn’t get screened.”
“Someone in her twenties might only go to the doctor when she’s sick, and if she doesn’t get sick, she doesn’t get screened.”
Considering that a new study reported hospitalization rate for strokes in women age 18 to 34 rose 31.8 percent throughout an eight-year period, it’s a big deal—and there are a handful of reasons why the number is rising. While blood clotting due to hormonal birth control could be a factor, things like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, tobacco use, and lipid disorders are probably at play too, the study shows.
That’s exactly why it’s so important to get checked early. Sure, going to the doc for a cholesterol test might make you feel advanced for your age (even though grandmas are so cool, you guys), but knowing your numbers—and how to better them—could save your life.