New Study Links the Pill With Clogging of Women's Arteries
Who Needs An Apple When Pitching Your Pill Pack Could Keep the Doctor Away?
As February comes to a close, I have been surprised this year that wearing red for women’s heart disease is almost as popular as wearing pink in October for breast cancer. Raising awareness about the leading cause of death in women is important. Prevention is key by minimizing risk factors and that is why I have been disturbed that the media has failed to report a study published in late January of this year on this topic. The study links the pill to atherosclerosis (aka. clogging of the arteries).
It is becoming common knowledge that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of men and women. Although modern medicine has made great strides to decrease deaths due to this disease, the trends for women are puzzling. Clinical researchers have known for years that women of reproductive age, meaning pre-menopausal women, have a dramatically lower risk of cardiovascular disease than men the same age. The natural balance of a woman’s hormones protects her from the clogging of the arteries that cause heart attack and stroke. According to the American Heart Association statistics (AHA 2004), before 1984 more men died of cardiovascular disease (CVD) than women. From 1984 to the present, however, more women die each year from CVD than men. Why? There are a few hypotheses to explain this phenomenon. Cardiovascular disease has always been considered a male disease, and therefore, men are treated more aggressively than women. Preventative measures have focused on decreasing cholesterol and blood pressure in men and women have gone untreated. Outside of the gender differences in how the disease is viewed and treated, one hypothesis lurks in the background and is rarely discussed. Is there a link between hormonal contraceptive use and clogging of the arteries in women?
Few women are aware of the fact that a link between clogging of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, and oral contraceptives has been questioned and researched extensively over the past 50 years. Scientists still do not have a definitive answer on this issue, but the more the medical community learns about how atherosclerosis develops, the closer researchers come to a conclusion. Why are researchers questioning a link?Continued on the next page