A Mother's Lifestyle May Determine When Her Child Will Have First Heart Attack Or Stroke
'Our study suggests that mothers are the primary gatekeepers of their children’s health,' says the author of the study, Dr James Muchira.
In order to watch your children grow and give them the greatest care, mums should also make sure they're taking care of themselves. Especially now that experts have found how mothers' lifestyles can predict when their offsprings will have their first heart attack.
A press release was published by the European Society of Cardiology on 5 November raising awareness on how parents may possibly pass on their health to their children through genes and shared environment or lifestyle.
This was the first study that focused on whether parents' heart health is linked to the age their child will develop cardiovascular disease.
Is Cardiovascular Health Genetic?
The research included offspring-mother-father trios from the Framingham Heart Study which involved a total of 1,989 mothers, 1,989 fathers and 1,989 of their children. The offsprings were examined at an average of 32 years old and researchers tracked them until they were over 46 years old. The data collected was from 1971 to 2017 to the offspring's development of any cardiovascular events.
"Crucially, the study followed offspring into most of their adult life when heart attacks and strokes actually occur," says Dr Muchira, one of the researchers of the study.
The cardiovascular health and lifestyle between the parents were said to be examined according to seven factors: not smoking, healthy diet, physically active, and normal body mass index, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood glucose.
Afterwards, links were made from the parents' cardiovascular health and how long it took their offsprings to have any cardiovascular disease. The comparisons were made by mother-daughter, mother-son, father-daughter and father-son.
Researchers found a probable link between the heart health of parents to their kids for they found that parents of offsprings who had ideal heart health lived more years before they inherited cardiovascular disease.
Offspring's Health Was Linked More With Mother's Lifestyle
The study found that the offsprings of mothers with proper cardiovascular health got to live without heart disease 9 years longer than those with mothers who had poor cardiovascular health. Offsprings with mothers that had poor heart health were also linked to twice the risk of early-onset heart disease.
Their sons were also said to be more affected by their mothers' unhealthy lifestyles for these men had 'more unfavourable lifestyles' as compared to the daughters.
Meanwhile, the cardiovascular health of fathers did not have any significant impact on their children's length of time living without any signs of heart disease.
Researchers say these findings may have something to do with the mother's health during pregnancy as well as environment earlier in her life.
'If mothers have diabetes or hypertension during pregnancy, those risk factors get imprinted in their children at a very early age. In addition, women are often the primary caregivers and the main role model for behaviours,' Dr Muchira adds.
"Family-based interventions should occur during pregnancy and very early in the child's life, so that the real impact of protective cardiovascular health tracks into adulthood," he says.
"For example, pairing mothers and young children in an exercise or diet improvement programme. If children grow into healthy adults, they will not acquire the same cardiovascular risk as their parents, a situation that will raise the chances of having even healthier grandchildren."