People who have experienced social isolation, abuse and poverty during their childhood are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease due to the heightened sense of reactivity, a new study has revealed.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, suggests that many diseases first diagnosed in mid-life have their links to childhood. Having bad health habits in the 20s and 30s can be part of the reason for people to get diseases later on.

A press release issued by the American Psychological Association quotes Dr. Karen A. Mathews, professor of psychiatry and epidemiology as saying that: "The evidence shows that certain reactions to adverse childhood experiences associated with lower socioeconomic status, isolation and negative events can affect the disease process."

Dr. Mathews led a team of researchers to analyze medical records of 212 teenagers between the ages of 14 and 16 years, wherein they found that those from poor families were more prone to early signs of heart disease.

"Our data suggests that this age group is more vulnerable to cardiovascular risks if they are exposed to various stressors because of their hormonal changes and their sensitivity to peer rejection, acceptance and how they interpret others' attitudes towards themselves," she is quoted as saying in the press release.

She suggested that children who had limited resources within their families and the communities grew up in unpredictable and often stressful environments. Fewer resources made people more susceptible to negative impact of adversity, which they try to avoid by becoming hyper-vigilant.

However, a negative consequence of this vigilance is that they start interpreting events negatively as a routine and begin mistrusting people in general. Social interactions become a stress resulting in high blood pressure, inflammation levels and cardiovascular disease.