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How Childhood Cardiovascular Risks Affect Risk for Diabetes in Adulthood

Jan 18, 2020
 
Editor: Steve Freed, R.PH., CDE

Author: Keri Hames, PharmD Candidate, Florida A&M University, College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences

How do childhood cardiovascular risks and other health issues we experience when we are young affect our future health conditions?

Previous studies have examined the linkage between adverse health outcomes and cardiovascular risk factors in midlife or later populations.  However, it is unknown if the effects of childhood cardiovascular risk factors play a part in later life diabetes. The purpose of this study was to understand if cardiovascular risk factors in adolescence and childhood affected diabetes later in life. 

In this study, the researchers involved 1,718 patients that had partaken in the Bogalusa Heart Study. The Bogalusa Heart Study objective was to understand the pathogenesis of different adult disease states.  These participants had to have at least four measurements during childhood (ages 4 – 19 years of age). These partakers were followed for a mean of 20.5 years. Childhood cardiovascular risk factor variables were calculated using standard deviation, residual standard deviation based upon 4 – 8 serial measurements in childhood, coefficient of variations, and departure from aged-predictable values.

Researchers in this study found an acceleration between an increasing body mass density (BMI) or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) was associated with diabetes later in life as independent factors.  The incidences of having diabetes later in life were similar when comparing elevated BMI levels and HDL-C in childhood. Researchers did not find a significant correlation between diabetes and other cardiovascular risk factors such as triglycerides, LDL – C, total cholesterol, and systolic/diastolic blood pressure.

The conclusion of this study stated that an elevated BMI or HDL-C in childhood contributed to diabetes occurring more often in adulthood, whereas there was no connection to diabetes and other cardiovascular risk factors.  Researchers also concluded that a snapshot or a limited amount of measurements are not enough to understand fully how cardiovascular risk factors are linked to diabetes later in life. It would be interesting to see how these findings apply to children in other countries, whose diet and body size may be different. 

Practice Pearls:

  • Elevated BMI or HDL-C in childhood has been associated with an increased risk of diabetes occurring later in life.
  • Other cardiovascular risk factors such as triglycerides, LDL – C, total cholesterol, and systolic/diastolic blood pressure in childhood had no significant impact on adult-onset of diabetes.
  • Having a few measurements of cardiovascular risk factors in childhood may not give a full understanding of the linkage with diabetes.

References for “How Childhood Cardiovascular Risks Affect Risk for Diabetes in Adulthood”:
“Childhood BMI, HDL-C Variability May Up Later-Life Diabetes Risk.”
Physician’s Briefing, 1 Aug. 2019, www.physiciansbriefing.com/diabetes-endocrinology-4/type-ii-diabetes-news-183/childhood-bmi-hdl-c-variability-may-up-later-life-diabetes-risk-748599.html.

Fernandez, Camilo, et al. “Variabilities in Childhood Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Incident Diabetes in Adulthood: The Bogalusa Heart Study.” Diabetes Care, American Diabetes Association, 18 July 2019, care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2019/07/15/dc19-0430.

“Bogalusa Heart Study.” Bogalusa Heart Study, « Heart Attack Prevention, www.epi.umn.edu/cvdepi/study-synopsis/bogalusa-heart-study/.

Keri Hames, PharmD Candidate, Florida A&M University, College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences