Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Heart Disease Risks Hit Boys in Teens

“The first signs that men are at higher risk of heart disease than women appear during the adolescent years, according a new study that tracked boys and girls through their teens. ‘This is not what we would have predicted,’ said Dr. Antoinette Moran, chief of pediatric endocrinology and diabetes at the University of Minnesota Children's Hospital, and lead author of the report in the April 22 issue of Circulation. ‘Because boys lose fat and gain muscle in adolescence, while girls add body fat.’ One possible lesson of the study is that it is never too early to start protective measures against heart disease, said Dr. Stephen R. Daniels, chairman of the department of pediatrics at the University of Colorado. ‘Studies have used autopsies of young people who died in accidents to show that by the late teens, the kind of lesions we know cause heart attacks and strokes are in the process of developing,’ Daniels said. ‘So, in some ways, our best opportunity to prevent heart disease is to look at children and adolescents and start the preventive process early.’ Fighting obesity in the years before adulthood is essential, he said. ‘Some changes that occur may be due to what is built into the difference between the sexes,’ he said. ‘But if you add overweight and obesity, you can increase risk through that mechanism.’”

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