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Infections in infancy may heighten one’s risk of developing heart disease later in life

Infant infections and the risk of cardiovascular disease may be related, according to research. Immune systems are compromised in newborns. 

Simply said, the bacteria, viruses, and parasites that cause these diseases cannot be defeated by their newly evolved immune systems. They are consequently far more susceptible to several infections than older kids and adults. The majority of illnesses in newborn infants are brought on by bacteria and viruses. Before, during, and after birth, newborns are susceptible to infection.

Babies’ immune systems start to develop soon after birth, drastically reducing the frequency of infections a child receives. Even yet, the child’s future health may suffer significantly as a result of the short window of exposure to diseases.

Studies have identified a probable connection between early infections and a later risk of cardiovascular disease, which allows for more focused intervention.

The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI)-led study, which was published in eLife, found that altered metabolism and higher inflammation markers were common among infants who were susceptible to infections and were at risk for cardiovascular disease.

The findings suggest that accumulative childhood illnesses may put adults at higher risk for heart disease, obesity, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, according to Dr. Toby Mansell of MCRI.

“We found the risk of adult-onset cardiovascular disease could be accruing from early life,” Mansell said. We know babies are prone to infections. This causes inflammation, a key cardiometabolic risk factor, but the relationship between infection, inflammation, and metabolic profiles in early childhood had remained underexplored until this study.”

Infant infections were monitored during a 12-month period in 555 infants from the Barwon Infant Study, a joint venture involving Barwon Health, Murdoch Children’s, and Deakin University. According to the study, high newborn infection rates by the age of 12 months were linked to heightened inflammation markers and alterations in metabolic profiles, which affect how the body breaks down fats, proteins, and sugars.

According to Professor David Burgner, cardiovascular disease, one of the main causes of death in adults worldwide, has been linked to infection as a potential factor. One person in Australia dies from cardiovascular disease every ten minutes, accounting for 25% of all fatalities. Cardiovascular disease affects more than 4 million Australians, and one person is hospitalized for it every minute.

According to Professor Burgner, the research presents chances for early preventive efforts, such as identifying the virus kinds and the kids who are most at risk, as well as how these risks might be mitigated by straightforward interventions.

“Targeted action could include promoting breastfeeding, ensuring timely vaccinations, and supporting families so that they can keep children at home if they are unwell with an infection,” Burgner said.

Infections in infancy may heighten one’s risk of developing heart disease later in life

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