The risk of stroke is influenced by the size in childhood
Does the size of children affect their future health? In some cases, apparently. Researchers have now found that young children have an increased risk of stroke in adulthood.
The researchers at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark found that younger children have an increased risk of stroke later in life. The doctors published the results of their study in "Stroke" of the English-language journal of the American Heart Association.
Researchers examined more than 300,000 children
The prospective study examined the data from more than 300,000 Danish schoolchildren, all of whom were born between 1930 and 1990. These children were examined at the ages of seven, ten and 13 years.
Two to three centimeters with a decisive effect
The researchers found that boys and girls who were two to three centimeters smaller than the average age of children at this age were at increased risk of developing an ischemic stroke from a clot. This increased likelihood applied to adult men and women. Men also had an increased risk of a so-called hemorrhagic infarction if they were smaller than the average as a boy.
What factors determine size?
While the size of adults is largely genetic, it is also influenced by factors such as the mother's diet during pregnancy, the child's diet, infections and psychological stress. Some of these factors can be modified and all influence the risk of stroke, the authors explain.
Same mechanisms for size and risk of stroke?
The researchers found in the study that a decrease in the frequency of strokes and mortality rates in most high-income countries, especially women, coincided with a general increase in size in adulthood. Taken together, this indicates that the same underlying mechanisms affect both the development of size and the risk of a stroke, the doctors explain.
Results make it easier to understand the origin of strokes
The results of the study have a greater impact on understanding the origin of the disease than they have on clinical risk prediction, the scientists say. Future studies should focus on the mechanisms of the underlying relationship between childhood height and late stroke risk.
Risk factors for those affected should be reduced
"Our study suggests that smaller height is a possible marker for stroke risk in children and that children should pay special attention to changing or treating modifiable risk factors for stroke to reduce the likelihood of this disease," explains Prof. Dr. Jennifer L. Baker of the University of Copenhagen in a press release from the American Heart Association. (as)