Tags: sex | abuse | heart | attack

Abuse Linked to Heart Attack Risk

Tuesday, 11 Sep 2012 11:32 AM


Men who were sexually abused as kids are three times more likely to have a heart attack as those who were not similarly traumatized as children, according to a new study out of the University of Toronto.
No association was seen between childhood sexual abuse and heart attacks among women, said researchers who reported their findings in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect.
The findings were based on analysis of 5,095 men and 7,768 women aged 18 and over, who participated in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey. A total of 57 men and 154 women reported being sexually abused before they turned 18 and 377 men and 285 women said they had experienced a heart attack.
SPECIAL: These 4 Things Happen Right Before a Heart Attack — Read More.
"Men who reported they were sexually abused during childhood were particularly vulnerable to having a heart attack later in life," said lead resesacher Esme Fuller-Thomson.
"We had expected that the abuse-heart attack link would be due to unhealthy behaviors in sexual abuse survivors, such as higher rates of alcohol use or smoking, or increased levels of general stress and poverty in adulthood when compared to non-abused males. However, we adjusted statistically for 15 potential risk factors for heart attack, including age, race, obesity, smoking, physical inactivity, diabetes mellitus, education level and household income, and still found a three-fold risk of heart attack."
Co-researcher Sarah Brennenstuhl said the study could not determine why men, and not women, are more prone to heart attack, but that gender-specific coping mechanisms maybe a factor.
“For example, it is possible that females adopt different coping strategies than males as women are more likely to get the support and counseling needed to deal with their sexual abuse," she said.
Fuller-Thomson added that it’s possible “adverse child experiences become biologically embedded in the way individuals react to stress throughout their life, particularly with respect to the production of cortisol, the hormone associated with the ‘fight-or-flight’ response. Cortisol is also implicated in the development of cardiovascular diseases.”
SPECIAL: These 4 Things Happen Right Before a Heart Attack — Read More.


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Men who were sexually abused as kids are three times more likely to have a heart attack as those who were not.
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Tuesday, 11 Sep 2012 11:32 AM
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