Abused Girls at Higher Risk for Heart Disease
The sexual abuses of children have been dominating the headlines of late. It would seem that little boys as well as girls are equally likely to be preyed on. As these atrocities become more public, the reasons behind the behaviours of some who feel shame become more evident. Children act out in many ways from withdrawing to being violent.
In a recent study, it was found that the effects on young girls coping with abuse could lead to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke as adults.
Women who reported repeated episodes of forced sex and severe physical abuse in childhood and adolescence were at increased risks when compared to those who did not experience abuse. It was not the abuse itself that caused the increased risk, but what the women did to cope with the emotional and psychological effects: weight gain, alcohol use and smoking.
“The single biggest factor explaining the link between severe child abuse and adult cardiovascular disease was the tendency of abused girls to have gained more weight throughout adolescence and into adulthood,’ said Janet Rich-Edwards, Sc.D., M.P.H., lead author of the study and associate professor in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass.
Different factors play a role in the heart disease, however, abuse histories of women need to be taken into consideration by medical practitioners when trying to reduce the risk of chronic disease.
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