Inflammation in late teens may be linked to health risks in later life
Inflammation is a natural part of the body’s defence against anything that could damage us. It is the body’s way of protecting us from infection, injury or illness. However if inflammation continues for extended periods it can lead to chronic inflammation which can lead to serious health conditions.
New research published in JAMA Pediatrics found that inflammation in early adulthood may influence health later in life. The researchers concluded that ‘Inflammation earlier in life increases the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease 30 years later’.
The researchers from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, worked with other institutions in America, the UK, Iceland and Sweden analysing data from 248,488 conscripts to the Swedish army. The conscripts were aged between 16-20 between 1952 and 1956.
Firstly the researchers removed anyone who had an existing medical issue or ‘marked physical weakness’ leaving 106,120 conscripts. As the conscripts had undertaken a full medical the researchers had access to blood samples. One of the tests had assessed erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) which involves measuring how quickly red blood cells settle at the bottom of a test tube, cells that sink faster than the average are a sign of inflammation. Each conscript had been given a ESR score of low, moderate, or high.
The conscripts were followed for 35 years until the age of 57. The researchers found that those with high ESR scores had an overall increased risk of mortality, particularly from cardiovascular disease or cancer.
NOTE: JAMA Pediatrics is a monthly peer reviewed medical journal published by the American Medical Association