Arteries of Children and Teenagers as Degenerated as Middle Aged Adults

Sep 2, 2009 by

Arteries of Children and Teenagers as Degenerated as Middle Aged Adults

Children and teenagers today are getting hit by all sorts of diseases, some ailments which were even unheard of. Some young ones are even dropping dead for no apparent reason. And it’s no coincidence at all – poor diets and lifestyles as well as increasingly stressful and toxic environments are playing a large part in this alarming trend.

In the study which is highlighted in the following article, we learn how the arteries of our young ones today are deteriorating at a dangerous rate, making their condition parallel that of middle aged men and women. How frightening.

Children and Teenagers Found to Have Arteries of Middle Aged Adults

by Reuben Chow

Many people have the idea that they can enjoy life in their younger years, eat and drink whatever they want, do whatever they like, and not have to worry about diseases or illnesses until they are much older. Well, the evidence is building up against such a mentality. In a small study which was presented at the American Heart Association’s recent annual meeting in New Orleans, researchers took a peek inside the neck arteries of a group of children and teens. Alarmingly, they saw cardiovascular systems which looked more like they belonged to middle-aged 45 year olds.

Details of Study

Using ultrasound imaging, the study team measured the thickness of the inner walls of carotid arteries which bring blood to the brain. Higher carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) is a sign of plaque or fatty deposit buildup in important arteries which lead to the heart and the brain. This restricts blood flow and can cause stroke and heart attacks.

The children and teenagers involved in the study were aged 6 to 19, with the average age at 13 and the majority from 10 to 18. Their CIMT measurements were then compared to adult plaque levels. The numbers did not make for good reading at all.

Findings of Study

On average, the children’s mean CIMT was 0.45 millimeters, with the highest hitting 0.75 millimeters. One particular 12 year old boy had a reading of 0.54 millimeters, which is right in the middle of the healthy range for a 45 year old man (i.e. 0.50 to 0.57 millimeters).

More than 50% of the 70 young persons who were involved in the study were, by “vascular age” terms, about 3 decades older than their actual age. “There’s a saying that you’re as old as your arteries. These kids are showing up with arteries that show middle-aged conditions,” said Dr Geetha Raghuveer, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine, the leader of the study. This means that the children, at such a tender age, are at risk for heart attacks, stroke, and death.

“If I see a kid with a 0.54 plaque in his carotid artery, a 12-year-old kid, I’m going to be concerned,” Dr Raghuveer also said.

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