Childhood habits follow adulthood. Likewise, diseases encountered during childhood manifest themselves in other forms during adulthood. A new study has found that childhood asthma is associated with developing stiffer arteries earlier in adulthood.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease involving the airways that serve as pathways that allow air to enter and exit the lungs. Asthma patients have inflamed airways which makes the passage of air difficult, causing symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, breathlessness and chest tightness. Childhood asthma is much prevalent affecting millions of kids under the age of five mostly. Artery stiffness is associated with coronary artery disease and stroke, two common causes of death worldwide. There is substantial evidence linking adulthood asthma with cardiovascular disease but the underlying connection between arterial stiffness and childhood asthma was an unexplored territory until now.
The study involved around 1,750 young and middle-aged adults whose arterial stiffness was measured using a non-invasive test. After 11 years of follow-up, the results showed that:
Kids seem to be as flexible as a rubber band. They can crawl into surprising places, push themselves under their study table to hide from parents or do all sorts of monkey tricks to impress adults. As they grow, their flexibility levels decrease and their body becomes stiffer and stiffer as they age. The same happens with our arteries too. As young people, we have elastic blood vessels that absorb energy when our hearts beat and give it back to our bloodstream. Similar to your other body parts, blood vessels too become stiffer as you age. The difference arises when some people get their blood vessels stiffer at an even more earlier age comparatively.
India has around 15-20 million asthmatics and ranks No.14 in worldwide asthma incidence. Around 1,51,877 people die from asthma every year which is around 1.71% of total deaths. Studies indicate that an unhealthy lifestyle is a major risk factor childhood asthma which is prevalent among 16.67% of children in urban India and in lesser than 5.7% children in rural India. With such a bleak scenario existing for asthma in children, it is vital that asthma is controlled. If not, it can be a cause for even more bigger problems such as cardiovascular disease.
The study made use of pulse wave velocity which occupies a vital part in recognizing individuals at a greater risk of stiff arteries and warning them to take precautionary actions to safeguard heart health. Although the study did not probe into the reason behind asthma causing stiff arteries in early adulthood, this is an interesting area of study that provides scope for future research. Irrelevant of the reasons and causes behind stiff arteries, people with asthma should get their blood pressure checked regularly and follow all precautionary instructions recommended by the physician for heart health-quitting smoking, drinking, controlling cholesterol, following a healthy lifestyle, eating nutritious foods, maintaining a healthy body weight and exercising regularly. A dietitian/nutritionist can be a great motivation in helping you follow all these recommended goals for heart health and plan a proper diet chart imparting the daily nutrient needs for your body type. Get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com to fulfill your requirements and stay healthy.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.