Infection with high-risk strains of the HPV (human papillomavirus), which have been associated with cancer, might raise the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially among obese women, reports a new study. The findings of the study are published in the Circulation Research: Journal of the American Heart Association.
Certain strains of HPV are considered high risk because they can increase the probability of vaginal, vulvar, penile, mouth, throat, and cervical cancers.
The study showed that women with high-risk HPV were 22 percent more likely than uninfected women to develop cardiovascular disease.
Conversely, slightly more than 7 percent of the women without CVD developed high-risk HPV infections.
Interestingly, women who smoked, consumed alcohol and reported being physically active were also more likely to have high-risk HPV. In contrast, higher education - college degree or more - was associated with a decreased likelihood of having high-risk HPV.
"A better understanding of high-risk HPV as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and possible combined effects of high-risk HPV, obesity and metabolic syndrome in increasing cardiovascular disease risk may help improve preventive strategies and patient outcomes," said Seungho Ryu, Professor at Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea.
Further studies are required to identify specific high-risk HPV genotypes that may contribute to cardiovascular disease and to examine whether vaccine strategies to reduce high-risk HPV infection for cancer prevention may also help reduce CVD, suggested the study.
For the study, researchers included 63,411 women aged 30 or older without CVD.