Childhood infections can put your heart at risk

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Published: October 19, 2015 10:55:36 AM

A recent research has linked childhood infections to increased risk of early heart attack.

A recent research has linked childhood infections to increased risk of early heart attack.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer worldwide, including in Indonesia where it accounts for 31.9 percent of all deaths, said researcher Andriany Qanitha.

Qanitha added that CVD risk factors are rising rapidly in South-East Asia, particularly in young people. Most Indonesian CVD patients are under 56 years old and still economically productive. This very young CVD onset raises the question of whether local circumstances may play a role.

She continued that infectious diseases such as typhoid fever, measles, chicken pox, bronchitis, tuberculosis and dengue fever are common in Indonesian children. Researchers hypothesised that infections experienced in childhood and adolescence might adversely affect the vasculature and initiate atherosclerosis, leading to premature acute coronary syndromes (ACS) or heart attacks.

One explanation is that infection initiates chronic inflammation and atherosclerosis in the arteries, said Qanitha. “It could be that infection modifies CVD risk factors and leads to ACS.”

She concluded that the findings may apply to other countries in South-East Asia where infectious disease is still prevalent. Here governments and policymakers should have a combined strategy for tackling infectious disease and cardiovascular disease. Early-life infection may be a relatively unknown contributing factor in ACS occurrence.

The study has been present during Poster Session 1: Databases, Registries and Surveys.

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