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Pediatr Nephrol. 1997 Feb;11(1):99-107.

Atherosclerosis in youth: are hypertension and other coronary heart disease risk factors already at work?

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Department of Pathology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans 70112, USA.


The purposes of this review were to describe the natural history of atherosclerosis in youth, discuss the role of adult coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors in the development of atherosclerosis-particularly in the young- and present the relationship between atherosclerosis and hypertension. Evidence is presented that, by age 15 years, 100% of the youth have aortic atherosclerosis and about one-half have coronary atherosclerosis. Risk factors for adult CHD, including lipoproteins, smoking, glycohemoglobin (a marker for diabetes), obesity, and hypertension, are associated with extent and prevalence of atherosclerosis in young people. Hypertension seems to play its role mainly by converting early atherosclerotic lesions (fatty streaks) to more advanced lesions (raised lesions).

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