Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death globally and the risk of death from CVD is higher in those of South Asian origin; the reasons for this are not fully understood.
Although CVD is a disease of later life, its origins begin in early life and initial signs of atherosclerosis are evident in the first decade of life. Prevention of CVD is of utmost importance as it can lead to significant morbidity or death in many cases. Focusing of screening programmes on ‘life time risk’, with screening and prevention beginning in early life would reduce the burden of CVD, both for individuals and on overall healthcare resources.
Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital is one of a number of sites from around the world participating in the Hyperglycaemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome Follow-up Study (HAPO FUS). This research is tracking the health of an ethnically diverse group of babies whose mothers have diabetes mellitus. Out of the HAPO FUS, the Manchester Heart and Growth Study (MHGS) has grown. This research programme, led by Professor Peter Clayton and Dr Sophia Khan is following the progress of more than 140 of the HAPO FUS children who are now aged six to 12 years. The children have undergone regular assessments since they were born relating to their growth, heart function and blood composition and through observing changes in these factors we aim to improve understanding of the early biological changes which lead to the development of CVD in the same children. This could lead to novel targets to reduce the lifetime risk of developing CVD for both Caucasians and the higher-risk South Asian group.