MONDAY, Nov. 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The risk for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) in young adulthood is increased among individuals who have been exposed to childhood adversity, according to a study published online Nov. 15 in the European Heart Journal.

Jessica Bengtsson, Ph.D., from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and colleagues examined the effect of childhood adversity on the development of CVD between ages 16 and 38 years. Register data were obtained for all 1,263,013 individuals born in Denmark between Jan. 1, 1980, and Dec. 31, 2001, excluding those with a diagnosis of CVD or congenital heart disease.

The researchers found that 4,118 individuals developed CVD between their 16th birthday and Dec. 31, 2018. The risk for developing CVD was increased for individuals who experienced severe somatic illness and death in the family (adjusted hazard ratios, 1.6 and 1.4 for men and women, respectively) and for those with very high rates of adversity across childhood and adolescence (adjusted hazard ratios, 1.6 and 1.6 for men and women, respectively) compared with those who experienced low levels of adversity, corresponding to 10 to 18 extra cases of CVD per 100,000 person-years.

“The incidence of CVD is low in early adult life but increases substantially during this period,” a coauthor said in a statement. “This highlights the importance of research into nongenetic early life risk factors, which may be targeted for early prevention.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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