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Home Industry News Adverse childhoods ‘linked to greater risk of heart disease in later life’

Adverse childhoods ‘linked to greater risk of heart disease in later life’

19th December 2017

Children and teenagers who experience adversity in their lives are more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases in adulthood, according to a new study.

A review of existing research from Emory University has identified a strong association between adverse childhood experiences – including abuse, bullying or witnessing violence – and a greater likelihood of developing risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes at an earlier age.

This could be because of unhealthy reactions to stress, such as smoking or overeating, which can in turn increase the risk of depression, anxiety and mood disorders that further cements the unhealthy behaviours.

Chronically high stress levels or repeated spikes have also been shown to disrupt normal immune, metabolic, nervous and endocrine development and functions, although it was noted that the current evidence is observational, and does not necessarily prove causality.

Shakira Suglia, an associate professor of epidemiology at Emory University in Atlanta, said: "Ideally, we want to prevent these things from happening in the first place as well as preventing the health consequences that arise from having these experiences."

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