Kids With HIV Also at Risk for Atherosclerosis
A recent study has shown that kids who are HIV positive are 250 percent more likely to contract atherosclerosis. This can result in heart attacks and premature death. Due to the seriousness of the matter, a healthy routine of food and exercise, as well as certain medications, is vital to survival.
While medications now make it possible for those with HIV to live much longer without the progression of the disease, it doesn’t mean they no longer have the disease at all. Complications still arise than can result in death, and this is one of those complications. With the immune system constantly locked in conflict with HIV, the person is far more likely to contract other life threatening illnesses and to develop various medical conditions like heart problems.
Elevated LDL levels are another side effect of the HIV virus that can cause serious health complications. HIV treatment does seem to help lower these levels. There is presently about a 10-year difference in life expectancy for those with HIV.
The study was performed with 300 children in total. Half of the kids were those infected with HIV. The other half were a control group that did not have the disease. One factor that was considered in the study, because it does have an effect on the heart, is the number of smokers in the group. There were more smokers in the HIV positive group than in the control group (6 percent more), and it is believed the reason for this is that those in the HIV positive group had a poorer economic status and difficult family histories. All of this was taken into consideration when the study was done, and even with adjusting the numbers to make up for the smoking discrepancy and other factors, there was still a 250 percent increased risk of heart disease for the HIV patients.
The results of this study have shown that physicians treating children who have HIV need to pay close attention to their lifestyle and help them to appreciate the need to take care of their heart from an early age due to the complications of HIV. It also shows the importance of antiretroviral drugs in helping increase the life expectancy of those who suffer from HIV.