Chronic respiratory symptoms in young adulthood are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality later in life, according to the results of a recent study published in the journal CHEST.

This study examined data from participants in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00005130) after a 30-year follow-up. Chronic respiratory symptoms were identified through respiratory symptom questionnaires and models were used to explore the associations between chronic respiratory symptoms and cardiovascular disease as well as all-cause mortality.

Among the 4621 participants in the CARDIA study, aged 18 to 30 years, there were a total of 284 cardiovascular disease events and 378 deaths over a median follow-up period of 30.9 years. Models were used to adjust for demographics, cardiovascular risk factors, smoking and lung function. Ultimately, hazard ratios for cardiovascular events were 1.51 for any respiratory symptom, 1.57 for cough or phlegm, 1.31 for wheeze, 1.73 for shortness of breath, and 1.32 for chest illnesses. Analysis of all-cause mortality showed similar findings.


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The study authors wrote, “Chronic respiratory symptoms in young adulthood are associated with an increased risk of [cardiovascular disease] and all-cause mortality in midlife independent of established cardiovascular risk factors, smoking and lung function.” They added, “Identifying chronic respiratory symptoms in young adulthood may help provide prognostic information regarding future cardiovascular health.”

Reference

Feng W, Zhang Z, Liu Y, et al. Association of chronic respiratory symptoms with incident cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality: findings from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study Chest. Published online November 2, 2021. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2021.10.029