By Sadie Whitelocks

A high percentage of 'apparently healthy' young adults are at risk of clogged arteries, a study shows.

Researchers at the University of Quebec have discovered that a build-up of fatty deposits in the walls of the arteries known as atherosclerosis, is fast becoming a 'ticking time bomb'.

This disorder, which often remains undetected, can eventually lead to serious health complications including heart disease, stroke, or even premature death.

A study has revealed that a build-up of fatty deposits in the walls of the arteries known as atherosclerosis, is fast becoming a 'ticking time bomb'

A study has revealed that a build-up of fatty deposits in the walls of the arteries known as atherosclerosis, is fast becoming a 'ticking time bomb'

Each of the 168 volunteers aged 18-35 who took part in the study had no known risk factors such as family history of premature heart disease, diabetes, obesity, smoking, high blood cholesterol, or high blood pressure.

However results revealed that despite their healthy appearance they were suffering from the potentially serious condition.

Dr. Eric Larose, said: 'The proportion of young, apparently healthy adults who are presumably 'the picture of health' who already have atherosclerosis is staggering.

YOGURT: THE HEART PROTECTOR

Fit for life: A yoghurt can prevent heart attacks and strokes

A daily dose of yoghurt could keep heart disease at bay in women.

Scientists say it helps prevent blood vessels from thickening in old age, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

In their study, women aged over 70 who included ‘moderate amounts’ of yoghurt in their diets were found to be significantly less likely to suffer from the condition.

Dietician Kerry Ivey, who led the Australian research at the Sir Charles Gardener Hospital, Perth, said: ‘Dairy products get a bit of a bad rap on cardiovascular disease.

But there has been a demonstrated benefit in probiotic and yoghurt consumption. We’re trying to explore the benefits of yoghurt as distinct from its dairy characteristics.’

It is thought the product may work by increasing levels of HDL cholesterol – the so-called ‘good cholesterol’ – in the blood.

In the study, 1,080 women were questioned about their lifestyles and diets, and their carotid arteries were measured over three years. Those who ate around 100g of yoghurt a day had healthier blood vessels.

More research is needed to explore its health-boosting properties, Miss Ivey told the American Society for Nutrition journal.

'We're dropping the ball on a large proportion of young adults who don't meet traditional measures of obesity such as weight and BMI.'

Each of the volunteer's height, weight, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference were noted.

Then MRI scans measured various fat deposits in the body, including both subcutaneous fat which primarily resides directly under the skin, and visceral fat- a much more dangerous type that surrounds vital organs around the stomach area.

Findings showed that many of the volunteers exhibited symptoms of atherosclerosis such as a greater waist circumference, and visceral fat covering the internal organs within the chest and abdomen.

Dr Larose said that young adults with higher amounts of visceral fat are more likely to suffer from a heart attack or stroke in the long run.

The study, presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, supports previous research that found that as many as 80 per cent of young Americans killed in war or in car accidents had premature and hidden atherosclerosis.

Dr Beth Abramson, from the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation said: 'Someone in this country dies from heart disease or stroke every seven minutes.

'You can think of it as a ticking time bomb inside your body that might explode later in life.'

Maintaining a healthy weight, taking regular exercise, living tobacco free, reducing stress levels, limiting alcohol consumption and learning how to control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are effective ways of preventing, or reversing, the process of atherosclerosis.