Reproductive health & heart failure

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Researchers at University of California-San Francisco say a woman’s reproductive health, or lack thereof, might be related to her risk of heart failure. Dr. Liviu Klein, who was the principal investigator for the study, says women should “raise the issue with their doctor about their reproductive- health history and mention the possibility of this history being relevant to their cardiovascular health.” Women who reached menopause at an earlier age or who never gave birth were shown to be at an increased risk of heart failure.

The 13-year study involved 28,000 women. Those who never gave birth were at least 2.75 times more likely to develop diastolic heart failure than those who gave birth. The risk of heart failure decreased by about 1 percent for every year later that a woman entered menopause.

Dr. Joan Briller, who is an associate professor at University of Illinois College of Medicine, says women get heart disease later in life than do men because of menopause.