University of Toronto Childhood physical abuse may not only create a mental impact but also elevate the risk of developing various ailments in future. Previously, we had presented various articles ascertaining the negative impact on health due to physical abuse in the younger age. While a report displayed heightened chances of developing cancer, the other disclosed threat to arthritis. A groundbreaking study led by the University of Toronto apparently shed light on the increased rates of heart disease in individuals who were victims of childhood physical abuse.

While analyzing, investigators claim to have controlled various health behaviors including smoking, obesity and physical activity level. Also extreme childhood experiences like parental addictions, adult income and education level, diabetes, self-reported stress and a history of high blood pressure and mood disorders were seemingly kept at bay.

Professor Esme Fuller-Thomson, who holds the Sandra Rotman Chair at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and Department of Family and Community Medicine shared, “Individuals who reported they had been physically abused as children had 45 per cent higher odds of heart disease than their peers who had not been abused, despite the fact we had adjusted for most of the known risk factors for heart disease.”

Data gathered form a 2005 representative community survey initiated in two Canadian provinces was examined by the scientists. From the total of 13,000 study participants, while seven reported a history of childhood physical abuse, four percent were determined to be patients of heart disease by a health professional.

John Frank, director of Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Study and Policy and co- author, commented, “This finding, if replicated in other studies, suggests that patients known to have experienced child abuse or neglect should have their cardiovascular risk factors managed somewhat more aggressively than other persons, since they are at greater risk.”

Further inspections may open doors for the potential mechanisms responsible for the link between childhood physical abuse and heart disease. The recent study highlights the possible relation between childhood physical abuse and heart disease in the future, but does not reveal the way the link operates.

The study is published in the July issue of the journal Child Abuse & Neglect.