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AHA: Exposure to Violence May Up Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Exposure to physical violence in adulthood linked to carotid artery intima media thickness

FRIDAY, March 4, 2016 (HealthDay News) — For women, exposure to certain types of violence is associated with increased subclinical cardiovascular disease in midlife, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2016 Scientific Sessions, held from March 1 to 4 in Phoenix.

Mario Flores, M.D., from the Insto Nacional de Salud Publica in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and colleagues examined the correlation of childhood and adult exposure to violence and carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) in 634 disease-free women. Participants retrospectively responded to 12 violence-related items from the Life Stressor Checklist.

The researchers found that the prevalence of neglect was 8.2 percent in childhood, while the prevalences of observed, sexual, and physical violence were 22.2, 6.9, and 8.2 percent, respectively. The corresponding prevalences were 17.4, 21.6, 10.4, and 27.4 percent in adulthood. Exposure to sexual violence in childhood was associated with IMT in midlife, although the correlation was not significant. In adulthood there was a correlation for exposure to physical violence and IMT, compared with unexposed women (multivariable-adjusted mean percent difference, 2.3 percent). For women who reported physical violence versus those who did not, the multivariable-adjusted odds ratio for carotid atherosclerosis was 1.69.

“Both society and the health care sector need to be aware of the importance of exposure to violence and its impact, not only on social well-being but also on women’s long-term health,” Flores said in a statement.

One author disclosed financial ties to AstraZeneca.

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