Overweight and Obese Adolescents at Higher Risk for Stroke in Early Adulthood

It’s no secret that obesity is beginning earlier in life than ever before. In fact, childhood obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s. Fast food, a sedentary lifestyle, and the farming methods and processing that brings our food to the table are all contributing factors. Sadly, the earlier obesity develops, the harder it becomes to achieve a healthy, stable body weight.

Why does this matter? Among a multitude of complications, a heavier body weight in childhood appears to increase the risk for high blood pressure in young adulthood. High blood pressure is major risk factor for stroke, and sadly this devastating and often life-changing condition is on the rise in younger adults. A Swedish study published last year in JAMA Neurology reported that those young men who became overweight or obese around the time of puberty were 80 percent more likely to suffer a stroke compared to young men of normal weight.

The good news is that the risk can be reversed simply by losing weight.The same study found that if a normal weight is achieved by age 20, the risk appears to drop back to normal.

As I discussed with U.S. News and World Report reporter Don Rauf: “Kids are very resilient, and when problems are addressed at an early age, we can often avoid long-term consequences. In adulthood, that is less likely, as it is harder to reverse the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle.

“This study gives strong credence to the argument that we need to fight for healthier meals and more physical activity for our kids, both at home and at school.”

To learn more, check out the link to the article below.


Source: Heavy Teens May Be Setting Themselves Up for a Stroke | Health Care | US News

Smoking Now May Hurt Your Kids Later

It probably doesn’t surprise anyone that smoking around your kids (or anyone else’s for that matter) can trigger an asthma attack and aggravate other lung conditions. But you may not know that when you expose your children to smoke, they are more likely to develop harmful cholesterol plaques in the carotid arteries, which feed the brain, later in life.

An Australian study published in March in the peer reviewed journal Circulation reported that young adults who grew up in smoking households were 70% more likely than their peers to have signs of arterial damage. And as I told Daily Rx reporter Nancy Maleki, “Although the study looks specifically at carotid plaque, we know that plaque in those arteries is a marker for cholesterol buildup elsewhere in the body, including the heart.”

Smoking outdoors, and trying to limit kids’ exposure to smoke, might help protect your loved ones somewhat, but even under those conditions, there was still a 60% higher likelihood of vascular disease.

“Without a doubt it is difficult to break the habit, but when you take into account the lasting harm it can inflict on those who are the most vulnerable and most dependent on the adults in their lives, it’s really a no-brainer,” I told Ms Maleki. “If you can’t quit for yourself, quit for those you love.”

To learn more about the study, and to check out DailyRx.com’s updates on the latest medical news, click the link below.



Source: Parents Smoking Might Be Heartbreaker for Kids | dailyRx

Childhood Obesity Affects Heart Function

With childhood obesity tripling over the past 3 decades, pediatricians, cardiologists and others in the medical profession worry about the future impact of an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle that begins so early in life. A new German study gives us good reason to be concerned.

Researchers found that that obese children were more likely to have enlarged heart chambers and less efficient heart function. Not surprisingly, obesity also had detrimental effects on blood lipids and other measures of heart health.

Although the study did not follow the children out into adulthood, in an interview with DailyRx.com’s Sean Kinney, I suggested that “It’s disturbing, although not surprising, that the changes in obese kids’ risk factors and heart structure mirror what we see in obese adults.

“We know from other studies that obese children are very likely to remain obese throughout their lifetimes, greatly increasing their risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney failure.”

To read more, click on the link below to DailyRx.com.

Obesity Changed Shape and Function of Heart | dailyRx.

High Blood Pressure on the Rise in Children

A recent report from Harvard Medical School and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey has uncovered yet another disturbing trend in the health of children and adolescents. According to the researchers, the incidence of high blood pressure has risen 27% in children and adolescents,  compared to data from 13 years ago. In an interview with DailyRx.com, I stated that “this should serve as a major wake-up call to parents, schools, food manufacturers, and restaurants.High blood pressure is a major contributor to strokes, heart failure, heart attacks, and kidney failure, problems that we are are already seeing in much younger adults than ever before.”

Many young people are not screened for high blood pressure, and those who are are often not treated effectively. Since high blood pressure itself rarely causes symptoms, many kids and young adults are likely to go untreated until damage to the heart, brain, or kidneys has already occurred. As a cardiologist who cares for many young adults, I know that this is not just a theoretical concern. I see these patients every day.

Not surprisingly, the study also found progressive increases in weight and waist sizes over the same period of time. The fact that we continue to see such an increase despite greater public awareness of the obesity epidemic suggests that the problem is not being taken seriously, especially by parents who themselves may be making unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices.In my interview with DailyRx.com, I emphasized the fact that “the solution –a healthy diet, regular exercise, and weight management– is not that complicated, but it’s critical that parents take their roles as nurturers and providers seriously enough to make a real difference. And it’s also imperative that our schools do not continue to enable a lifestyle that is counterproductive to good health.”


The Pressure is Rising for Kids | dailyRx.

Plastic Additives Linked to High Blood Pressure in Children

An important new study from NYU Lagone Medical Center documents the effects of seemingly innocuous plastic products and materials on our own health, and on the health of our children. The additives, known as phthlates, turn up virtually everywhere, so it is nearly impossible to avoid exposure to them. Although the effect on blood pressure may appear to be modest, over time and across individuals, even a mild effect can raise the risk for heart disease, kidney failure, and stroke. Now that we’ve identified phthalates as a potential problem, manufacturers need to take steps to reduce our exposure to these chemicals.