Gothenburg [Sweden], March 15 (ANI): Obesity in childhood and early adulthood increases the risk factors for blood clots later in life, a study from the University of Gothenburg shows. The study is based on more than 37,000 men’s early BMI history and information about their thrombi, if any, in adulthood.
The link between obesity and blood clots is already established. Until now, however, it has been unclear how much influence an elevated BMI in childhood and puberty exerts. The aim of the study was to clarify the relationships between BMI in early life and subsequent thrombi.
Thrombi usually occur in the legs and often begin in a blood vessel in the calf. Swelling, pain and redness are common symptoms. Treated early, clots are rarely dangerous. But if one breaks off, is carried to the lungs in the bloodstream and attaches to the vessel wall there, the resulting “pulmonary embolism” can be life-threatening.
The present study includes 37,672 men in Sweden, born between 1945 and 1961. It is based on information on height, weight and BMI from the men’s registers, first from school health care (at age 8) and second, from medical examinations upon enrollment in the Armed Forces (at age 20), together with registry information on any blood clots up to age 62 on average.
Distinctly increased thrombus risk It is clear from the results, now published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, that BMI at both 8 and 20 years of age, independently of each other, can be linked to venous blood clots. These can occur in, for example, the leg (deep vein thrombosis, DVT) or the lung (pulmonary embolism).
In adulthood, two groups were found to have a significantly increased risk of venous thrombi. The first was individuals who had been overweight both as children and as young adults, while the second consisted of those whose childhood weight was normal and who became obese only in early adulthood.
In addition, obesity in both childhood and young adulthood was found to increase the risk of arterial thrombi – that is, blood clots resulting from narrowed blood vessels with fatty deposits and inflammation. However, because there were few cases of arterial blood clots in the study, further studies are needed to confirm these findings. All comparisons in the study were made with the control group, whose weight was normal at both 8 and 20 years of age.
Obesity in puberty an important factor The first and corresponding author of the study is Lina Lilja, PhD student at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, and pediatrician. At the time of the study, she worked at the children’s clinic Kungshojd in Gothenburg. Today, she is a senior physician in child health care in Region Västra Götaland.
“Our study shows that both obesity in childhood and obesity in young adulthood increase the risk of venous blood clots later in life. The latter, obesity when the men were young adults, was found to be a more influential factor than obesity when they were children,” states. Lily.
Professor and senior physician Claes Ohlsson and associate professor and senior physician Jenny Kindblom, both Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg and Sahlgrenska University Hospital, were senior authors of the study.
“Obesity and overweight during puberty appear to have a marked impact on a person’s future risk of venous thrombi,” concludes Kindblom.
The study includes data from the BMI Epidemiology Study (BEST) in Gothenburg, a population study, and from Swedish national registers. (ANI)