heart attack young women heartbeat_00001007.jpg
heart attack young women heartbeat_00001007.jpg
Now playing
01:00
The face of heart attacks is changing in the US
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 05: Sen. John Cornyn (R) (R-TX) talks with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) while walking to the U.S. Senate chamber for a vote March 05, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Senate continues to debate the latest COVID-19 relief bill.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Win McNamee/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 05: Sen. John Cornyn (R) (R-TX) talks with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) while walking to the U.S. Senate chamber for a vote March 05, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Senate continues to debate the latest COVID-19 relief bill. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:54
Axelrod breaks down Manchin's surprising move
sinema
PHOTO: CNN
sinema
Now playing
01:50
Senator's move has many on the internet outraged
PHOTO: FBI
Now playing
02:58
Trump State Department official charged in Capitol riot
John King Magic Wall 0305
PHOTO: CNN
John King Magic Wall 0305
Now playing
02:17
President Biden sending a team to the US-Mexico border
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:53
Here's how Canadian schools have stayed open
This image was taken during the first drive of NASA's Perseverance rover on Mars on March 4, 2021. The team has spent the weeks since landing checking out the rover to prepare for surface operations.
PHOTO: JPL-Caltech/NASA
This image was taken during the first drive of NASA's Perseverance rover on Mars on March 4, 2021. The team has spent the weeks since landing checking out the rover to prepare for surface operations.
Now playing
02:17
NASA releases stunning new images from Mars
Rep john garamendi 0305
PHOTO: CNN
Rep john garamendi 0305
Now playing
02:33
Rep. Garamendi: Any lawmaker involved in Capitol riots ought to be thrown out of Congress
A view of Capitol Hill during heightened security concerns over possible protests or violence tomorrow March 3, 2021, in Washington, DC. - Washington's security posture has been bolstered after threats of a possible March 4, 2021, "breach" of the US Capitol, with the House of Representatives changing its voting plans to avoid gathering members on a day of potential unrest. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
A view of Capitol Hill during heightened security concerns over possible protests or violence tomorrow March 3, 2021, in Washington, DC. - Washington's security posture has been bolstered after threats of a possible March 4, 2021, "breach" of the US Capitol, with the House of Representatives changing its voting plans to avoid gathering members on a day of potential unrest. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
03:18
Rep. Sarbanes: Failure to pass HR 1 'would split our democracy in two'
Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner  attends a press conference on September 4, 2020, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner attends a press conference on September 4, 2020, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:50
Jared Kushner disappears from Trump's inner circle
PHOTO: CBS Evening News with Norah O'Donnell
Now playing
02:14
Governor Cuomo accuser Charlotte Bennett speaks out
In this Dec. 1, 2020 file photo, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell appears before the Senate Banking Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.  Powell told Congress on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021,  that the central bank will not begin raising interest rates until the Fed believes it has reached its goals on maximum employment  and warned that many people in the hardest hit industries will likely need to find different jobs.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool, File)
PHOTO: Susan Walsh/AP
In this Dec. 1, 2020 file photo, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell appears before the Senate Banking Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Powell told Congress on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, that the central bank will not begin raising interest rates until the Fed believes it has reached its goals on maximum employment and warned that many people in the hardest hit industries will likely need to find different jobs. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool, File)
Now playing
02:18
Jerome Powell: US economy 'some time' away from full recovery
A customer wears a face mask while shopping for flowers displayed for sale from a wholesale merchant ahead of the Valentine's Day holiday at the Southern California Flower Market on February 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. - While some florists note an increased demand for socially distant gifts, the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted global supply chains and shut down most large events including weddings where flowers are popular. The Valentine's Day and Mother's Day holidays are historically the two busiest days of the year for floral businesses. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP
A customer wears a face mask while shopping for flowers displayed for sale from a wholesale merchant ahead of the Valentine's Day holiday at the Southern California Flower Market on February 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. - While some florists note an increased demand for socially distant gifts, the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted global supply chains and shut down most large events including weddings where flowers are popular. The Valentine's Day and Mother's Day holidays are historically the two busiest days of the year for floral businesses. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:39
States rolling back Covid-19 safety measures as cases continue to rise
PHOTO: CBS' 60 Minutes+/Getty Images
Now playing
01:45
'QAnon Shaman' says he has one regret about January 6
psaki
PHOTO: CNN
psaki
Now playing
00:56
Psaki fires back at Trump testing czar over vaccine claims
Now playing
02:30
Alabama governor explains why she's ending mask mandate
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:35
See what security looks like outside US Capitol
(CNN) —  

Having higher-than-normal cholesterol and blood pressure levels before age 40 can raise your risk of heart disease later in life more than you might think, according to a new study.

A level of “bad” LDL cholesterol at 100 mg/dL or higher as a young adult was associated with a 64% increased risk for coronary heart disease later in life, said the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology on Monday.

Also in the study, a systolic blood pressure of 130 mm Hg or higher was associated with a 37% increased risk of heart failure later in life and a diastolic blood pressure of 80 mm Hg or higher was associated with a 21% increased risk.

Normal blood pressure levels are less than 120 systolic and 80 diastolic – or 120/80 – according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a healthy level of “bad” LDL cholesterol is less than 100mg/dL.

“The main take-home point of the study is for young adults: Don’t wait to make healthy choices,” said Dr. Andrew Moran, a principal investigator at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York and senior author of the study.

“Our results show that waiting until middle age or older years to improve diet and exercise can’t always reverse the cumulative damage made during young adulthood.”

’It was a novel finding and striking’

The study involved data on the blood pressure, cholesterol and cardiovascular health of 36,030 adults in the United States over an average of 17 years.

The data came from six different sources: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study; the Cardiovascular Risk Developing in Youth Adults study; the Cardiovascular Health Study; the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort; the Health, Aging and Body Composition study; and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.

The researchers took a close look at the health of the adults in the data from ages 18 to 39, and then from 40 and older.

The researchers found that elevated diastolic blood pressure and “bad” LDL cholesterol before age 40 were associated with incidents of coronary heart disease after age 40, and elevated systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure before 40 were associated with incidents of heart failure after 40.

“What was surprising was to see the strong association on young adult high LDL cholesterol and later life events – even after accounting for later life cholesterol level,” Moran said.

“We were also surprised at the association of young adult blood pressure with later life heart failure,” he said. “It was a novel finding and striking because many heart failure events occurs in older age.”

The study had some limitations, including that only associations between blood pressure, cholesterol levels and later cardiovascular events were found. More research is needed to determine a causal relationship.

More research is also needed to determine whether similar findings would emerge when comparing cardiovascular health in childhood to adulthood.

“Now that we found these associations of risk factors in young adulthood with later life heart disease and stroke risk, it begs the question, what about even earlier in life, as in childhood and adolescence? We are intrigued with the childhood period, and potential opportunities for early prevention there,” Moran said.

’The time has come to recognize that preventive interventions are occurring too late’

Dr. Samuel Gidding, of the Familial Hypercholesterolemia Foundation in Pasadena, California, and Dr. Jennifer Robinson, a professor at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, co-authored an editorial that published alongside the new study on Monday.

Get CNN Health's weekly newsletter

Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.

In the editorial, they called for the medical community “to wake up” and recognize that preventive efforts are needed among younger adults.

“Young adults, particularly women and non-white individuals, have not shared in the overall reduction in cardiovascular disease rates over the last several decades and are less likely to receive guideline-based care,” Gidding and Robinson wrote in the editorial.

“The time has come to recognize that preventive interventions are occurring too late in life to have a substantial impact on the population burden of” atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and heart failure, they wrote. “By moving to trials in younger higher-risk individuals who have less advanced disease more amenable to reversal, and developing precision medicine strategies based on genetics, imaging, and other risk factors, the next era of cardiovascular disease prevention can begin.”