Sunday, January 27, 2008

Higher Heart Disease Risk For Takers Of Oral Contraceptives!

Taking oral contraceptives is a common measure adopted by women to avoid pregnancy. But a recent study revealed that women who use oral contraceptives will subject to a higher risk of having hardened arteries being developed. It is known that hardened arteries can lead to heart attack or stroke.

The research was conducted by the University of Ghent in Belgium and presented on November 6, 2007 at a meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Florida. According to the report, women who used the hormones were more likely to have plaques, or a build-up of fatty tissue, on their arteries than women who didn't use oral contraceptives.

A total of 1,300 Belgian women between the ages of 35 and 55 were taken into the study, 81 percent of them had used oral contraceptives for an average period of 13 years. The researchers used ultrasound scans to look at the femoral artery in the leg and the carotid artery in the neck. To their surprise, they found incidence of atherosclerosis among these otherwise healthy women who had taken the pill. They also noted that the rates of the disease increased dramatically with every decade of usage, rising by between 20 and 30 per cent for every 10 years of use.

It is known that atherosclerosis, or furring of the arteries, typically occurs with age. Heart attack or stroke are some of the possible complications that occur when unstable pieces of plaque break off and block a blood vessel leading to the heart or brain.

As a matter of fact, the first generation of women who did use this form of birth control are now entering their 60s and the findings could mean that we are on the cusp of an increase in heart disease among them.

It is hoped that women should not suddenly stop taking the pills. Instead, they should look at reducing other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. They should watch their blood pressure and cholesterol levels, exercise and eat right. Meanwhile, if they can also limit their exposure to oral contraceptives, it would be good, too.

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