Warning Signs for Health Problems Seen in Young Adults
FRIDAY Oct. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Young adults who were born
very prematurely have higher blood pressure and more fat despite a
normal body weight, both signs that may point to a heightened risk
of health problems such as heart disease and diabetes later in
life, a new study finds.
British researchers examined 23 otherwise healthy people aged 18
to 27 who were born at 33 weeks of gestation or less. The
participants had higher blood pressure, more fat in their muscle
and liver, and more fat tissue despite having a normal body-mass
index (BMI) compared to young adults who were full-term babies.
These traits are associated with type 2 diabetes and heart and
circulatory disease, the Imperial College London team noted in a
The study appears in the journal
"This was only a small study, but the differences we found were quite striking," said lead investigator Neena Modi, a professor at Imperial College London. "The results suggest that we need to monitor the health of premature babies beyond infancy and childhood. Preterm men and women might be at greater risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases but if we look out for the warning signs, we can help them to stay healthy with lifestyle interventions, and treatment where appropriate."
She and her colleagues noted that the number of preterm babies
born each year is rising. In developed countries, about 2 percent
of babies are born before 33 weeks of gestation.
The survival rate of premature babies has increased due to
medical advances, and more than 90 percent of infants born before
33 weeks will survive. But few studies have examined the long-term
health effects of premature birth.
The March of Dimes has more about
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