Cardiovascular risk factor investigation: a pediatric issue
Anabel N Rodrigues,1 Glaucia R Abreu,2 Rogério S Resende,1 Washington LS Goncalves,1 Sonia Alves Gouvea2
1School of Medicine, University Center of Espírito Santo, Colatina, Brazil; 2Postgraduate Program in Physiological Sciences, Center for Health Sciences, Federal University of Espirito Santo, Vitória, Brazil
Objectives: To correlate cardiovascular risk factors (e.g., hypertension, obesity, hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, hyperglycemia, sedentariness) in childhood and adolescence with the occurrence of cardiovascular disease.
Sources: A systematic review of books and selected articles from PubMed, SciELO and Cochrane from 1992 to 2012.
Summary of findings: Risk factors for atherosclerosis are present in childhood, although cardiovascular disease arises during adulthood. This article presents the main studies that describe the importance of investigating the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases in childhood and their associations. Significant rates of hypertension, obesity, dyslipidemia, and sedentariness occur in children and adolescents. Blood pressure needs to be measured in childhood. An increase in arterial blood pressure in young people predicts hypertension in adulthood. The death rate from cardiovascular disease is lowest in children with lower cholesterol levels and in individuals who exercise regularly. In addition, there is a high prevalence of sedentariness in children and adolescents.
Conclusions: Studies involving the analysis of cardiovascular risk factors should always report the prevalence of these factors and their correlations during childhood because these factors are indispensable for identifying an at-risk population. The identification of risk factors in asymptomatic children could contribute to a decrease in cardiovascular disease, preventing such diseases as hypertension, obesity, and dyslipidemia from becoming the epidemics of this century.
Keywords: cardiovascular risk, children, hypertension, obesity, dyslipidemia, sedentariness, metabolic syndrome
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