Relationship between adverse childhood experiences and arterial stiffness over time from childhood into early adulthood
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It is well established in the literature that there is an association among adults between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and arterial stiffness, and between arterial stiffness and cardiovascular disease. However, recent cross-sectional evidence suggests that ACEs may play an important role in the development and progression of arterial stiffness, but it remains unclear when these changes begin to manifest. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to examine the relationship between ACEs and arterial stiffness from childhood into adulthood using population-based longitudinal data. A total of 76 young adults (females = 44), with an average age of 21 years (SD = 1) were included in this study. Overall, a total of 71 respondents reported to have experienced at least one ACE. The findings of this study showed ACEs-exposed individuals have a greater increase in arterial stiffness over time from childhood into young adulthood. This increase was similar for both males and females. Also, differences in heart rate, systolic blood pressure, body mass index, and physical activity did not mediate the relationship between ACEs and arterial stiffness over time. It is therefore important to recognize individuals with exposure to ACEs early on in life in an effort to lower the risk of arterial stiffness and in turn the cascade of events leading to cardiovascular disease.