The test measures the changes in an obese teen’s T-cell status. T-cells are a very important part of the immune system, and when the T-cells are over-activated, it is a sign of inflammation. The inflammation is often brought on by obesity, and has been linked to heart disease.
The trial blood tests involved both white and Black teenagers, and revealed that Black girls who are obese are particularly more likely to have an increase in T-cell activity. Obese white boys and girls did not have a similar response. This finding, in addition to the actual blood test, could mean that medical professionals can spot signs of heart disease before the disease actually occurs in the body. The medical trial involved 100 students from public school, between the ages of 14 and 20. Some participants were obese, while others were lean. The study was conducted in Augusta, Ga.
Dr. Carmen De Miguel, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, stated that “obesity in the formative years is already priming the system to develop cardiovascular disease later in life.”
Dr. De Miguel, who is also a lead researcher, shared this information with the American Heart Association in a news release. The doctor stated that having the ability to predict heart disease risk could “allow for preventative therapies” and motivate obese teens to change their diet and exercise habits in order to lower their risk.
“We think the fact that the girls do not decrease the numbers of activated T-cells could be important in explaining the high risk that black females have of developing cardiovascular disease later in life,” Dr. De Miguel stated.
Dr. De Miguel and her colleagues will present their findings in the near future at the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Conference. The event will take place in Washington, D.C.