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Obese children show early signs of heart disease
Date:10/17/2007

in the rate of motion of heart muscle were averaged within each group and compared to the normal rate of motion.

In the patients who are obese, the rate of motion of heart muscle changed, Sharkey said. As a childs BMIA increases, we see alterations in both the relaxation and contraction phase of the heartbeat. Many of these changes that have been seen in adults were assumed to be from long-standing obesity, but it may be that these changes start much earlier in life than we thought.

As vector velocity imaging becomes more broadly available, Sharkey said, it could potentially help pediatric cardiologists follow these children more closely over time to see if changes in the heart progress.

We may be able to determine whether we could intervene in the process, such as focusing the families on understanding the importance of regular exercise and dietary modifications for weight loss and prescribing statin drugs for high-blood cholesterol, she said.

Sharkey said the results of the study give more ammunition to physicians to use in counseling pediatric patients and their parents about the risks of obesity and the need to attain a healthy weight.

Even in teenagers, obesity leads to decreased myocardial performance and abnormal diastolic function, she said.

Further study is needed to determine how soon the changes in the heart set in after a child becomes obese and whether those changes are reversible with weight loss.


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Contact: Beth Miller
millerbe@msnotes.wustl.edu
314-286-0119
Washington University
Source:Eurekalert

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