The Importance of Cardiovascular Screenings in Young People

* According to the CDC, 5,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 34 yrs. of age die annually from Sudden Cardiac Death. The leading cause of Sudden Cardiac Death in young people is HCM, an abnormally enlarged heart muscle; the HCM gene is found in 1 in 500 births and young African males are more predisposed to it. (44% of blacks vs. 25% of whites.).

* A recent study of 249 teenagers found that 80 percent had an unhealthy buildup of cholesterol on artery walls, often the result of eating high-fat foods.

* Current statistics show 30% of kids in the United States are obese, foreshadowing increased heart attacks and diabetes as these children reach adulthood.

* One in three kids who are born in 2000 will develop diabetes. About 176,500 people under age 20 have diabetes.

Given the obesity epidemic in the U.S.,more children and adolescents are showing up with Type 2 diabetes which occurs more commonly in certain racial and ethnic groups such as African Americans, American Indians, Hispanic/Latino Americans, and some Asian and Pacific Islander Americans.

* The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that one way for the prevention of heart disease in adults is to screen children at an early age for premature cardiovascular risk factors. The AAP also recommends that kids who have a history of hypercholesterolemia, heart attacks or don’t know their family history should have cholesterol screenings.