Weather impacts child’s blood pressure
Researchers found that exposure to higher relative humidity while being pregnant was linked to a steeper increase in blood pressure in childhood
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EXPOSURE to outdoor humidity and temperature levels during pregnancy is associated with blood pressure changes in children, according to a new study.
Researchers found that exposure to higher relative humidity while being pregnant was linked to a steeper increase in blood pressure in childhood, while being exposed to higher temperatures during pregnancy was linked to a slower increase in blood pressure in childhood (between the ages of three and 10 years).
While it is normal for blood pressure to rise as children grow, the study showed a slightly bigger increase, according to the experts which included researcher from the University of Bristol.
Their findings suggested that humidity and temperature during pregnancy could have an effect on the child’s blood pressure.
“Children with higher blood pressure are more likely to have higher blood pressure as adults, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke as well as kidney disease and vascular dementia,” said Ana Gonçalves Soares from the University of Bristol and the lead author of the study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC): Advances.
The researchers analysed blood pressure measurements in more than 7,000 participants, aged between three and 24 years, to study the relationship between exposure to various urban environmental characteristics during pregnancy – such as temperature and pollution, among others – and blood pressure from childhood to adulthood.
They repeated the analyses with four other European groups from Finland, France and the Netherlands, which collectively included more than 9,000 participants.
Previous studies have shown that exposure to certain urban environments during pregnancy is linked to changes in blood pressure in childhood, said experts.
“Further work is required to understand how weather-related conditions during pregnancy can affect the child’s blood pressure to inform strategies to prevent cardiovascular disease in later adulthood related to prenatal environmental exposures,” said Gonçalves Soares.