Association of diarrhoea in childhood with blood pressure and coronary heart disease in older age: analyses of two UK cohort studies.
Batty GD., Smith GD., Fall CHD., Sayer AA., Dennison E., Cooper C., Gale CR.
BACKGROUND: There is a suggestion that acute dehydration in childhood may lead to elevated blood pressure. We examined if episodes of diarrhoea in childhood, a recognized proxy for acute dehydration, were related to measured blood pressure and coronary heart disease in older adults. METHODS: Data were pooled from two prospective UK cohort studies (participants born 1920-39) in which episodes of diarrhoea were ascertained from health visitor records from birth until 5 years of age. Blood pressure and coronary heart disease were assessed during medical examination in men and women over 64 years of age. In total, 5203 men and women had data on diarrhoea in early life, adult blood pressure and a range of covariates; 4181 of these also had data on coronary heart disease status. RESULTS: The prevalence of diarrhoea in infancy (3.3%) and between 1 and 5 years (1.1%) was low. There was no relation of diarrhoea from either period (age- and sex-adjusted results for diarrhoea in infancy presented here) with measured blood pressure [coefficient for systolic; 95% CI (confidence interval): 0.44; -2.88-3.76] or coronary heart disease (Odds ratio, OR; 95% CI: 0.91; 0.54-1.54) in adulthood. There was a similar lack of association when hypertension was the outcome of interest. These observations were unchanged after adjustment for a range of covariates. CONCLUSIONS: In the largest study to date to examine the relation, there was no evidence that diarrhoea in early life had an influence on measured blood pressure, hypertension or coronary heart disease in older adults.