Jump to:  A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K   |   L   |   M   |   N   |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y

AHA: A Child's Eyes May Be a Window Into Later Heart Disease Risk

AHA: A Child's Eyes May Be a Window Into Later Heart Disease Risk

FRIDAY, Oct. 12, 2018 (American Heart Association) -- Having optimal cardiovascular health as a child could predict the health of tiny blood vessels in the eye in adulthood -- a finding that could serve as an early marker of heart disease, according to new research.

The study, published Friday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, investigated the association between cardiovascular health and the size and shape of blood vessels in the retina. Researchers in the U.K. and Finland studied the eye and cardiovascular health of 418 participants in five cities in Finland, from age 12 to 18, then ending 25 years later when participants were in mid-adulthood, from ages 37 to 43.

"After comparing cardiovascular risk factors with the size and shape of retinal blood vessels, we were able to show that ideal cardiovascular health in childhood, and improvement to mid-adulthood, appear to have a protective effect on the retinal microvasculature," said Dr. Robyn Tapp, the study's senior author and a researcher at St. Georges University of London.

It is the first study to examine the impact of ideal cardiovascular health from childhood to mid-adulthood on the health of the blood vessel structure in the eye, Tapp said. Changes in the small blood vessels of the retina have been linked with high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and diabetes, among other conditions.

The study's findings highlight the importance of having good heart health "across the life course," Tapp said.

While the results don't prove a connection between cardiovascular health and eye health, the study is a step in the right direction, said Dr. Mary Frances Cotch, chief of epidemiology at the National Institutes of Health's National Eye Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.

"It seems plausible that diseases we find in middle and old age actually start in younger ages, perhaps childhood and earlier," said Cotch, who was not involved in the study. "I applaud them for looking at how experiences in childhood extrapolate to health in adult life. I don't think we do enough of that."

Tapp said her study's topic needs further investigation, with a larger study population and extensive long-term follow-ups.

Cotch said she would like to see in-depth studies of today's children that investigate other risk factors for eye disease that shows up later in life. "Some areas that are ripe for study are the environmental exposures that children may have, including the influence of diet, stress, chemicals and pollution, factors which likely vary across diverse geographic regions. There's a lot we don't know."

Reviewed Date: --

Find a pediatrician
Neurology
Dr. Sarah Chagnon
Dr. Thomas Enlow
Dr. L. Matthew Frank
Dr. Ralph Northam
Dr. Crystal Proud
Dr. Svinder Toor
Dr. Ryan Williams
Pediatric Eye Center
Medical/Surgical Eye Specialists, Inc.
Dr. Shakur Toosi
Virginia Ophthalmology Associates
Dr. Giovanni Disandro
Dr. Joel Lall-Trail
Health Tips
Glasses Can Help Even Young Children
Helping Kids Get Over their Fears
How Old Is "Old Enough" for Contacts?
Quizzes
Heart Health Quiz
Heart Quiz for Women Only
NewsLetters
5 Health Symptoms Women Shouldn’t Ignore
Breastfeeding May Lower Women’s Postmenopausal Stroke Risk
It’s Personal: New Guidelines Recommend Customizing Cholesterol Treatment Plans
Making “Cents” of High Blood Pressure
When a Chronic Disease Runs in Your Family
Diseases & Conditions
Anatomy of a Child's Brain
Anatomy of the Endocrine System in Children
Anomalous Coronary Artery in Children
Anxiety Disorders in Children
Asthma in Children Index
Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD) in Children
Bone Marrow Transplant for Children
Brain Tumors in Children
Chemotherapy for Children: Side Effects
Childhood Vision Problems
Ewing Sarcoma in Children
Eye Disorders in Children
Firearms
Hepatitis B (HBV) in Children
Home Page - Cardiovascular Disorders
Inflammatory and Infectious Musculoskeletal Disorders
Inflammatory and Infectious Neurological Disorders
Inguinal Hernia in Children
Insect Bites and Children
Kidney Transplantation in Children
Meningitis in Children
Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Myasthenia Gravis (MG) in Children
Osteosarcoma (Osteogenic Sarcoma) in Children
Pediatric Blood Disorders
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Children
Pregnancy and Medical Conditions
Pregnancy and Pre-existing Heart Disease
Preparing the School-Aged Child for Surgery
Schizophrenia in Children
School-Aged Child Nutrition
Sports Safety for Children
Superficial Injuries of the Face and Head- Overview
Symptoms of Possible Eye Problems
Television and Children
Thalassemia
The Growing Child: 2-Year-Olds
The Heart
The Kidneys
Vision Problems
Your Child's Asthma
Your Child's Asthma: Flare-ups

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.