Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you're not at risk for cardiovascular afflictions. According to Medical News Today, young women who are suffering from type 2 diabetes may have a higher risk of heart disease.

Researchers observed 1,256 premenopausal and menopausal women between 19 to 84 years old with and without diabetes. Using ultrasound imaging, they found that plaque buildup in the carotid arteries was more common in those with diabetes than in those without it.

The carotid arteries supply blood to the head, the brain, and the neck. According to the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, plaque build-up in these areas may cause carotid artery disease, which may block blood flow to the brain and cause stroke. Diabetes may also increase fatty deposits on blood vessel walls, causing artery hardening or atherosclerosis that may later lead to a heart attack.

Investigator Nestor Garcia, MD, PhD, suggests that young female diabetics should have regular check-ups. “To reduce the risk of heart attacks, we recommend screening women with type 2 diabetes at younger ages, even if they don’t have other known risk of heart disease,” he advises.

Exercise and a Mediterranean or a low-carb diet may also help lessen the impact of diabetes and lower the chances of developing cardiovascular issues.

(Photo by Ansel Edwards via Flickr Creative Commons; photo used for illustrative purposes only)

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