Childhood stress can cause heart disease risk later in life, a new study has found. The research shows that children who grow in a challenging family environment can develop a risk of cardiovascular disease and early death in middle age. The study pinpoints physiological, psychological, and behavioral changes.
Traumatic experiences in childhood increase the likelihood of following unhealthful coping strategies, such as smoking and overeating. Such adversity experiences can weaken a person’s ability to handle traumatic events in middle age.
One study states that people who experience abuse and neglect in their childhood are more at risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammation, and higher levels of the hormone cortisol.
The recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association reveals that childhood trauma and family dysfunction can lead to CVD events, such as a heart attack or stroke later in life. For the research, the specialists used data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study.
The latest study found that people who experience adversity as children were more than 50% more likely to have CVD event compared with those in the low adversity group.
“Childhood adversity is known to cause behavioral dysregulation related to several known CVD risk factors both in childhood and adulthood. For example, childhood trauma disrupts the ability of children to appropriately cope with and respond to emotionally stressful experiences. As a result, individuals often utilize calorie-dense foods as a mechanism to cope with psychosocial stress, which contributes to the development of obesity,” the authors write.