Having children increases your risk for heart disease, research finds

Research has revealed that having kids may be linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

A study conducted by Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities examined more than 8,500 women between the ages of 45 and 63.

After studying their health and family life over a 30 year period, results showed that the more children a woman has, the more likely she is to develop heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and heart failure.

Researchers conducted annual interviews of the woman and implemented hospital surveillance, finding that the risk for heart conditions was highest for those who had five children or more.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among women in every major developed country.

This predisposition, combined with the added physical stress of pregnancy, shows just how at risk mums are for developing heart conditions.

Common physiological changes during pregnancy include weight gain (higher lipid levels), increased insulin resistance and structural cardiac changes which may have a long-term effect on the heart’s health.

Women who have had a miscarriage were also at an increased risk of heart disease, including immune disorders, endothelial dysfunction, and chronic diseases, and heart failure.

The study also noted that women with five or more births were younger when they experienced their first pregnancy, so this could be a contributing factor as well.

Adjustment was also made for socio-demographic, behavioural, and reproductive characteristics that reduced the magnitude of the associations.

Women who had five or more children were 26 percent more likely to have a heart attack, stroke or heart failure than women with one or two children.

This groundbreaking study has led researchers one step closer to narrowing down the exact cause of killer cardiovascular disease for women and, more specifically, for mothers.

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