Cardiovascular disease causes stiffening of blood vessels, and similar symptoms are noticed in obese children, researchers explain. Doctors presented new findings to the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, explaining how some teen hearts are alarmingly similar to older individuals with heart disease.
The largest artery found in the human body is the aorta, and distribution of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body is the main function. Stiffness is generally present with age, and is also a sign of higher disease risks.
After analyzing heart function of children, researchers were shocked to find stiffening blood vessels in children.
For the study, 118 children with an average age of 13 years were evaluated. Data was collected on 63 obese children and 55 normal-weight children. Measurements of blood pressure, blood fat, and body mass index were taken. Also, children received ultrasounds of their heart and blood vessels.
Comparing data, researchers found blood pressure values and blood fat levels to be only slightly higher for obese children. However, when looking at ultrasound information, doctors discovered shocking results. Obese children artery function is considerably worse than normal-weight children.
These findings are alarming as the effects of poor diet and lack of exercise may be much more significant than originally believed, especially for children.
Researchers are still trying to determine whether or not these adverse changes are reversible.