Monday, 21 November 2011

Sexual Abuse Tied to Higher Risk of Stroke, Heart Attack in Adulthood

Girls, who have suffered physical or sexual abuse in childhood, may have a much higher risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke in adulthood. According to the results of research presented at the American Heart Association's 2011 scientific sessions, women who reported abuse during their childhood had a 62% higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease in adulthood. The study found that severe physical abuse in childhood contributed to a 45% higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

This is believed to be the first such study that comprehensively studies the association between sexual/physical abuse and cardiovascular disease. The researchers used data from a study conducted between 1989 and 2007. The study included more than 67,000 respondents. 9% of the women had suffered severe physical abuse, and 11% had suffered sexual abuse in their childhood.

So, what’s the link between physical/sexual abuse in childhood and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease? Researchers believe it has to do with stress brought on as a result of the abuse and increased weight gain. Girls who suffer from abuse-related trauma are more likely to gain weight, thereby increasing their risk of cardiovascular disease. Besides stress issues, smoking and alcohol use were also linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease among women who had been physically or sexually abused.

The study provides California sexual abuse lawyers more clues about the long-lasting impact of sexual abuse. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone that sexual abuse can leave a victim with such devastating, long-term health effects. It is to be expected that the stresses and trauma brought on by abuse during childhood will affect an individual's health as she ages.

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