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If go by the latest study as conducted, women who give birth to four or more children stand to be at higher risk of cardiovascular diseases as compared to women who have fewer kids. This study was brought into light by Indian-American researcher Monika Sanghavi from the University of Texas's Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
An assistant professor of internal medicine and lead author of this study, she said that the study adds to a body of facts that pregnancy, which usually takes place early in a woman's life, can give insight into a woman's future cardiovascular risk.
In the study, there have been some possibilities are highlighted in regards to women’s pregnancy and cardiovascular health. One possibility states that women who have many pregnancies get more visceral fat (the fat around abdominal organs). This apparently increases heart disease risk.
Another possibility states that increased cholesterol and higher blood sugar linked with pregnancy also contribute in increasing the risk of heart disease. Sanghavi further stated that at time of pregnancy, woman’s abdominal size increases. She develops higher lipid levels in her blood, and also higher blood sugar levels. Each pregnancy enlarges this exposure which in turn increases the risk of women developing cardiovascular disease in the due course.
The research was carried using the data as gathered for the Dallas Heart Study. Sanghavi and her team weighed against the number of live births as reported by women in the study with their coronary artery calcium (CAC) levels and aortic wall thickness (AWT). Coronary artery calcification and thicker aortic walls high levels are prime markers of heart disease which tend to surface before symptoms develop.
Moving on to the research, women who took part in the study were divided into three groups. The first group had women with one or no live births, the second comprised of women who had two to three live births, and the third group had women with four or more live births.
Women who had four or more live births reported to have a 27 percent occurrence of a high calcium score as compared with 11 percent among those who had two to three live births. Results were same when the AWT measurements were taken.
Explaining the same, Sanghavi shared that the associations were not affected by regulating for socio-economic status or conventional cardiovascular risk factors. She suggested that physiological changes linked with pregnancy are more likely to be accounted for the change. Senior author, Amit Khera, associate professor of internal medicine shared that study is being conducted to figure out more about the various physiologic changes women undergo during pregnancy that have consequences for future heart health.