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These childhood signs could predict stroke

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A new cardiovascular study has revealed five childhood risk factors that predict stroke and heart attacks in later life.

The researchers on the study examined half a century worth of data, which has led to these five factors being identified.

The findings show that blood pressure, triglycerides (type of fat found in blood), cholesterol, body mass index and smoking from a young age, are all clinically linked with heart disease.

This study was conducted by the International Childhood Cardiovascular Consortium and the Murdoch Children Research Institute (MCRI) in Australia.

The study examined data of 38,000 individuals from Australia, America and Finland, aged 3 to 19 for a period of 35-50 years.

Researchers discovered that the risk factors were clinically linked with cardiovascular event from as early as 40.

Professor Terence Dwyer, senior study author says: “Despite the effect medical and surgical care has had on treating heart disease, the impact will depend on effective preventive strategies.

“We knew the potential benefits to human health at the end could be very substantial.

“Longitudinal studies like these have been hampered by a lack of inclusion of comprehensive childhood data around body measurements, blood pressure, and blood lipids and a failure to follow-up at ages when cardiovascular disease becomes common.

“Studying early life influences on disease has always been put in the too hard basket.

“But researchers took up this challenge because we knew the potential benefits to human health at the end could be very substantial.”

The findings of the study, which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine confirm that prevention of these five risk factor predictors should start in childhood.

Dwyer adds to this, saying: “Five risks, individually or in combination, present in childhood were predictors of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events.

“Children as young as five already showed early signs of fatty deposits in arteries.

“This new evidence justified a greater emphasis on programs to prevent the development of these risk factors in children.

“While interventions in adulthood like improving diet, quitting smoking, being more active, and taking appropriate medications to reduce risk factors are helpful, it is likely that there is much more that can be done during childhood and adolescence to reduce lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease.”

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