Washington: A new study has revealed that childhood physical abuse is associated with significantly elevated rates of heart disease in adulthood.
The findings were based on data from a 2005 representative community survey conducted in two Canadian provinces.
"Individuals who reported they had been physically abused as children had 45 per cent higher odds of heart disease than their peers who had not been abused, despite the fact we had adjusted for most of the known risk factors for heart disease," said Esme Fuller-Thomson of University of Toronto.
The childhood abuse and heart disease link persisted even after controlling for health behaviours such as smoking, obesity and physical activity level, as well as other adverse childhood experiences such as parental addictions, adult income and education level, diabetes, self-reported stress and a history of high blood pressure and mood disorders.
Of 13,000 respondents, seven per cent indicated they had been physically abused as children and four per cent reported they had been diagnosed with heart disease by a health professional.
Co-author John Frank said "This finding, if replicated in other studies, suggests that patients known to have experienced child abuse or neglect should have their cardiovascular risk factors managed somewhat more aggressively than other persons, since they are at greater risk."
The findings were published in journal Child Abuse & Neglect.