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Family History Of Heart Disease, Diabetes Ups Cardiometabolic Risk For Children

Children with a family history of heart disease and diabetes may have an increased risk of cardiometabolic conditions.

A family history of diseases, together with a multitude of factors, offers clinicians an overview of their patients' risk for diseases. Specifically, scientists found that kids with a family history of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and/or type 2 diabetes have higher cholesterol readings than those without.

About a third of the children included in the study had a strong family history of the two diseases and this group showed bad cardiometabolic markers as manifested by high total cholesterol and a higher ratio of total and HDL cholesterol than those with moderate level of family history. These children are also said to more likely suffer from myocardial infarction (MI) or heart attacks and strokes later in life.

"A strong family history of MI or diabetes was independently associated with unfavorable cardiometabolic markers specific to those diseases," the authors write.

The Study

To investigate, the researchers performed a clinical evaluation on 1,374 12-year-olds, of which 704 were girls and 670 were boys.

The parents reported their family history of diseases, including MI, stroke and diabetes. They were asked to specify the age of the family members when they experienced the diseases, as well as whether both biological parents and grandparents were also included.

A tag of "no family history" was given to participants whose grandparents were not involved, "moderate family history" for those who had one to two grandparents who had late onset disease and "strong family history" for those who have one affected parent and at least one grandparent who had early onset disease.

Results And Conclusion

Findings show that all in all, subjects with moderate family history had no bad cardiometabolic markers while those with strong history had, when compared with no history.

The study may boost families to follow healthy lifestyles and implement preventive methods.

Future research may target lifestyle behaviors that are passed across generations as these may be responsible for the link between heart disease or diabetes and cardiometabolic risks of future offspring.

The study was published in the journal Diabetologia on May 30.

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