Children who experience high levels of stress may be at greater risk of diabetes and heart disease later in life, according to a new research.
Previous studies have shown that stress can have negative implications for health. Stress is the main cause of around 60 percent of all illness and disease in humans, according to the American Institute of Stress.
The researchers from Harvard School of Public Health analyzed data of almost 7,000 people who were part of the 1958 British Birth Cohort Study. All participants were born the same week and were followed for more than four decades. The mental health of the study subjects’ were assessed at the ages of 7, 11, 16, 23, 33 and 42 years.
At the age of 45, the participants’ underwent a biomedical assessment to measure markers for metabolic and cardiovascular health as well as immune function The above mentioned measures gave the experts a cardiomatabolic risk score that indicates an individual’s risk for diabetes and heart disease.
The researchers found that individuals who experienced high levels of stress during childhood and adulthood had higher cardiometabolic risk scores as compared to those who experienced low levels of stress throughout childhood and adulthood.
“We know that the childhood period is really important for setting up trajectories of health and well-being,” said Ashley Winning, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Stress is caused by internal or external influences that disrupt an individual’s normal state of well-being. These influences are capable of affecting health by causing emotional distress and leading to a variety of physiological changes.
Stress is an inevitable part of life. Human beings experience stress early, even before they are born. A certain amount of stress is normal and necessary for survival. IMAGE/iStock