Managing Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Young Adults: JACC State-of-the-Art Review

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2022 Mar 1;79(8):819-836. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2021.12.016.


There is a need to identify high-risk features that predict early-onset atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). The authors provide insights to help clinicians identify and address high-risk conditions in the 20- to 39-year age range (young adults). These include tobacco use, elevated blood pressure/hypertension, family history of premature ASCVD, primary severe hypercholesterolemia such as familial hypercholesterolemia, diabetes with diabetes-specific risk-enhancing factors, or the presence of multiple other risk-enhancing factors, including in females, a history of pre-eclampsia or menopause under age 40. The authors update current thinking on lipid risk factors such as triglycerides, non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, apolipoprotein B, or lipoprotein (a) that are useful in understanding an individual's long-term ASCVD risk. The authors review emerging strategies, such as coronary artery calcium and polygenic risk scores in this age group, that have potential clinical utility, but whose best use remains uncertain. Finally, the authors discuss both the obstacles and opportunities for addressing prevention in early adulthood.

Keywords: atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease; enhancing factors; family history of premature ASCVD; risk factor; young adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atherosclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Atherosclerosis / epidemiology
  • Atherosclerosis / therapy*
  • Heart Disease Risk Factors*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult