HealthDay News – For women, exposure to certain types of violence is associated with increased subclinical cardiovascular disease in midlife, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2016 Scientific Sessions, held from March 1 to 4 in Phoenix.

Mario Flores, MD, from the Insto Nacional de Salud Publica in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and colleagues examined the correlation of childhood and adult exposure to violence and carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) in 634 disease-free women. Carotid atherosclerosis was defined as IMT ≥0.8mm or presence of plaque. Participants retrospectively responded to 12 violence-related items from the Life Stressor Checklist.

Researchers found that the prevalence of neglect was 8.2% in childhood, while the prevalences of observed, sexual, and physical violence were 22.2%, 6.9%, and 8.2%, respectively. The corresponding prevalences were 17.4%, 21.6%, 10.4%, and 27.4% in adulthood. Exposure to sexual violence in childhood was associated with IMT in midlife, although the correlation was not significant. In adulthood there was a correlation for exposure to physical violence and IMT, compared with unexposed women (multivariable-adjusted mean percent difference: 2.3%). For women who reported physical violence versus those who did not, the multivariable-adjusted odds ratio for carotid atherosclerosis was 1.69.

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“Both society and the health care sector need to be aware of the importance of exposure to violence and its impact, not only on social well-being but also on women’s long-term health,” Dr Flores said in a statement.

Disclosures: One author disclosed financial ties to AstraZeneca.


Violence linked to early signs of blood vessel disease in women [press release]. American Heart Association Meeting Report Abstract P202. Phoenix, AZ: American Heart Association’s Epidemiology/Lifestyle 2016 Scientific Sessions; March 1-4, 2016. Accessed March 4, 2016.