We are always looking for early determinants of adult disease processes so we might be able to intervene sooner and abate serious morbidity up the road—but sometimes we discover a determinant that we had not suspected to be a contributor. Take childhood infections for example and their influence, or at least their association with adult cardiometabolic disease.
Burgner et al. (doi:10.1542/peds.2015-0825) report this week on their study of a longitudinal cohort of children in Finland who were followed from ages 3- to 9-years onward until they were 30 to 45 years of age with data being accessible in terms of infection-related hospitalizations since birth as well as their degree of adiposity, body mass index and metabolic syndrome in adulthood.
The authors controlled for various confounders and discovered that early childhood infectious disease-related hospitalizations correlated significantly with increased BMI and metabolic syndrome even when age, sex, birthweight, childhood BMI, family income and other factors were controlled for. In fact, the more infection-related hospitalizations, the higher the increase in adult BMI. If this seems puzzling to you, it did to us initially as well until we read this study and learned from the discussion as to what role these infection-related inpatient stays might have with adult cardiometabolic outcomes.
You’ll want to weigh in to the results of this study—and then think about your patients from years back with recurrent hospitalizations for infections and whether or not they are tackling cardiac-related metabolic complications as adults as this study certainly suggests.
- Strength Capacity and Cardiometabolic Risk Clustering in Adolescents
- Cardiometabolic Risk Factors Among US Adolescents and Young Adults and Risk of Early Mortality