About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER

Birth Control Pills Could Increase Risk of Heart Attacks

by Gopalan on November 8, 2007 at 12:28 PM
Font : A-A+

Birth Control Pills Could Increase Risk of Heart Attacks

Birth control pills could increase risk of heart attack and stroke, a European study released on Tuesday says. Though there are still some loose ends and the findings are not all that conclusive, they make you pause and wonder about the suitability of the whole process of oral contraception.

Women who used oral contraceptives were more likely than those who did not take the pill to have a buildup of plaque in their arteries, researchers told an American Heart Association meeting Tuesday.


'The main concern is if you have higher plaque levels that you might develop a clot on one of these plaques and have a stroke or a myocardial infarction (heart attack) or sudden cardiac death,' Dr. Ernst Rietzschel of Ghent University in Belgium, who led the research, told reporters.

'That's the main risk with having plaque, with having atherosclerosis.'

Rietzschel's team studied 1,301 women ages 35 to 55.

Of them, 81 percent had used the pill, for an average of 13 years. The researchers saw a rise of 20 to 30 percent in arterial plaque in two big arteries -- the carotid in the neck and the femoral in the leg -- for each decade of use.

The researchers measured plaque levels using a technique called vascular echography.

In atherosclerosis, there is a hardening and narrowing of the arteries caused by the slow buildup of plaque, made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other material, on the inside of artery walls.

Rietzschel said he did not think the findings should trigger alarms about the safety of the pill.

'Bottom line -- don't discontinue your pill suddenly. Don't panic. Don't call your gynecologist tomorrow morning,' Rietzschel said.

Other steps can be taken to cut cardiovascular disease risk among these women, he said, like eating a healthier diet, getting more exercise, not smoking and controlling cholesterol.

But he added, 'There are other ways of doing contraception. Oral contraception is not the only possibility.'

Dr. Gordon Tomaselli, a Johns Hopkins University cardiologist and American Heart Association official, said he was surprised by the findings.

'It's a bit eye-opening, I think,' Tomaselli said in an interview.

The introduction of 'The Pill' in the 1960s revolutionized birth control practices and was a major cultural milestone. The pill uses hormones to suppress ovulation.

Rietzschel said it was possible the findings indicated that there could be an upswing in heart disease among women who have taken the pill, considering that those who began in the 1960s were now reaching a peak age for such illness.

'We might be at the foot of a wave. But the wave might be a small ripple,' Rietzschel said.

Source: Medindia
GPL /J

News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Western Diet may Augment the Risk of Autoimmune Diseases
Black Tea Protects against Blood Pressure and Heart Diseases
Green Mediterranean Diet may Help Repair Age-Related Brain Damages
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Drug Toxicity Birth Control Pills Vaginitis Vasectomy Cardiac Catheterization Stress and the Gender Divide Heart Heart Attack- Lifestyle Risks Healthy Heart Hyperventilation 

Recommended Reading
Health Animation-Birth Control Pills - Animation
Interesting information about the use of birth control pills, a debate about the birth control ......
Warning Signals/Contraindications of Birth Control Pills / Oral Contraceptive Pills
It is not recommended for women who have had blood clots or heart or kidney or liver problems and .....
Heart Attack - Animation
Animation of Heart Attack symptoms. Heart attack is caused due to ischemia of the heart muscles ......
Birth Control Pills
Oral contraceptive or birth control pills contain hormones that prevent pregnancy. It is one of the ...
Cardiac Catheterization
Cardiac catheterization is a radiological procedure for both diagnosis and treatment of heart condit...
Drug Toxicity
Drug toxicity is an adverse reaction of the body towards a drug that results as a side effect of a d...
Heart Attack- Lifestyle risks
Heart attack is the death of the heart muscle due to loss of blood supply. Simple guidelines to avoi...
Hyperventilation
Hyperventilation occurs when a person breathes in excess to the body’s requirement....
Stress and the Gender Divide
Stress has become entwined in the current lifestyle of a young working couple and has resulted in th...
Vaginitis
Vaginal infection or vaginitis occurs due to an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast or trichomoniasis ...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use
open close
ASK A DOCTOR ONLINE
I have read and I do accept terms of use - Telemedicine

Advantage Medindia: FREE subscription for 'Personalised Health & Wellness website with consultation' (Value Rs.300/-)