Early vitamin D deficiency may confer hypertension in childhood, adolescence
Low levels of vitamin D at birth or in early childhood were associated with elevated risk for high systolic BP in childhood and adolescence, researchers reported.
“Currently, there are no recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to screen all pregnant women and young children for vitamin D levels. Our findings raise the possibility that screening and treatment of vitamin D deficiency with supplementation during pregnancy and early childhood might be an effective approach to reduce high blood pressure later in life,” Guoying Wang, MD, PhD, assistant scientist at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in a press release.
Wang and colleagues prospectively followed 775 children from birth to up to 18 years to assess the effect of vitamin D levels on systolic BP in childhood and adolescence. Low vitamin D was defined as plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D less than 11 ng/mL at birth and less than ng/25 mL in early childhood.
Low vitamin D at birth was associated with elevated risk for high systolic BP from age 3 to 18 years (OR = 1.38; 95% CI, 1.01-1.87) compared with normal vitamin D levels at birth, according to the researchers.
Low vitamin D in early childhood was associated with increased risk for high systolic BP from age 6 to 18 years (OR = 1.59; 95% CI, 1.02-2.46), Wang and colleagues found.
In addition, persistent low vitamin D status from birth to early childhood conferred a more than twofold risk for high systolic BP from age 3 to 18 years (OR = 2.04; 95% CI, 1.13-3.67).
“We provide evidence that supports a preventive role of optimal prenatal and postnatal vitamin D levels on [systolic] BP in childhood and adolescence,” Wang and colleagues wrote. “Optimal vitamin D levels could be essential as early as in utero for the risk reduction of elevated [systolic] BP. Screening for vitamin D levels during pregnancy or the first years of life should be recommended for pregnant women and their babies who are at a high risk, such as those with cardiometabolic risk conditions, so that they receive appropriate treatment and monitoring. Our work underscores that the perinatal and early childhood periods are critical windows for nutritional interventions aimed at preventing the development of hypertension in late life.” – by Erik Swain
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.