The fact that infections among adults can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes is now well established by several hundred scientific studies. Both heart attacks and strokes are expressions of arteriosclerosis (thickening of the arteries, previously termed hardening of the arteries). New research from the Section for Pediatric Cardiology in Lund indicates that infections can also contribute to the early development of arteriosclerosis even in childhood.
Doctor Petru Liuba shows in a newly submitted dissertation at Lund University that children who have been admitted to the hospital for severe urinary and respiratory infections developed thickening of the inner walls of the arteries after a period of illness. The study is the first in the world to show, with the help of ultrasound, that acute infections in children can be followed by such early signs of arteriosclerosis.
Thickening of the arteries is a disease that is connected to a number of factors, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol content in the blood, diabetes, inflammatory diseases like rheumatism, and a hereditary proneness to cardiovascular diseases. But these risk factors explain less than half of all cases, and infections are now being seen as a further partial explanation.
Ingela Björck | alfa
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