Navigation Links
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Date:12/21/2009

Arteries appear to be less clogged in those who nurse infants, study finds,,

MONDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Although many women choose to breast-feed because of the numerous health benefits it offers their offspring, new research suggests that breast-feeding may also help the health of the mothers' hearts later in life.

In a study of nearly 300 women, researchers found that those who had not breast-fed were much more likely to have calcification or plaque in their coronary artery, aorta and carotid artery. When calcifications and plaque build up in the arteries, blood flow can be reduced, and, if enough of these deposits build up, they can cause a heart attack or stroke.

"Women who had not breast-fed were more likely to develop changes that might lead to symptomatic heart disease," said the study's lead author, Dr. Eleanor Schwarz, an assistant professor of medicine, epidemiology, obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Health Care.

Results of the study will be published in the January issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Schwarz and her colleagues had previously looked at breast-feeding's effect on older women, and that study found that post-menopausal women who had breast-fed were less likely to report having heart disease. Another study on breast-feeding from a different research group recently reported in the journal Diabetes that women who breast-fed were less likely to develop metabolic syndrome, a clustering of risk factors that indicate an increased risk for heart disease.

The current study included 297 women who'd had at least one baby. At the time of the study, they were 45 to 58 years old, had never been diagnosed with heart disease and had no known symptoms of heart disease.

The researchers used two imaging techniques -- electron beam tomography and ultrasound -- to assess the health of the women's blood vessels.

They found that 32 percent of the women who had not breast-fed had coronary artery calcification, compared with 17 percent of the breast-feeding moms. The researchers found calcifications in 39 percent of the aortas of women who hadn't breast-fed, versus 17 percent of the women who had. They also found plaque deposits in the carotid artery of 18 percent of the women who had not breast-fed and 10 percent of those who had.

After adjusting the data for socioeconomic status, family history and lifestyle factors, heart disease risk factors and body mass, the researchers concluded that women who had not breast-fed were five times more likely to have aortic calcifications than women who consistently breast-fed.

Schwarz said the researchers suspect that the apparent benefit from breast-feeding on later heart health stems from how a woman's body stores fat and how that fat is released -- or not released -- after pregnancy.

"A woman's body expects to go through pregnancy and then lactation," Schwarz explained. "During pregnancy, a woman's body stores fat that it expects to release during lactation. If women don't breast-feed, then the body has to deal with excessive fat."

The bottom line is that "it's really important to try to breast-feed," she said. "If you can breast-feed for three months after each pregnancy, your blood vessels are likely to be in better shape down the road."

She added that women who can't breast-feed for three months ought to try for at least a little while. "Some women may feel overwhelmed by some of the long-term breast-feeding recommendations," Schwarz said. "Our study looked at three months, but if that's not possible, the longer you can stick with it, the better."

Dr. Catherine McNeal, an associate professor of medicine and a specialist in cardiovascular disease prevention at Scott & White Healthcare, said she agrees that a decrease in fat mass after pregnancy is probably the factor that's providing a heart benefit to women who breast-fed.

"We used to think of fat as this inert material, but it's very bioactive," McNeal said. "It produces a plethora of bad hormones and inflammatory markers that influence blood pressure, lipids and the risk of diabetes."

McNeal said that the study provided preliminary data "and we need to look at this area more closely, but I'm excited to see they found a positive effect of breast-feeding."

More information

The National Women's Health Information Center has more on the benefits of breast-feeding.



SOURCES: Eleanor Schwarz, M.D., assistant professor, medicine, epidemiology, obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, University of Pittsburgh Center for Research on Health Care, Pittsburgh; Catherine McNeal, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, internal medicine and pediatrics, Scott & White Healthcare, Temple, Texas; January 2010, Obstetrics and Gynecology


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Breast-Feeding Can Help Moms Heart Decades Later
2. Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies: Report
3. Breast-Feeding May Lower Breast Cancer Risk
4. Breast-Feeding Boosts Childs School Performance
5. Breast-feeding OK for Most Moms with MS
6. Breast-feeding a Boon to Moms Heart
7. Interventions to Promote Breast-Feeding Succeed
8. Eating Fish, Breast-Feeding Boosts Infant Development
9. Formula Samples Hinder Breast-Feeding Efforts
10. Taking Codeine While Breast-Feeding May Harm Infant
11. Breast-Feeding: The Stress Buster That Lasts for Years
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:9/25/2017)... ... 2017 , ... “The Majestic Unicorn”: a poignant book that describes what ... the creation of published author, Dayna Chantel, an artist and a writer. , Chantel ... march aboard the cypress ark-vessel. Male and female, no matter what species, they were ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... ... , ... The trend-spotters, tastemakers, and healthy lifestyle product experts at the ... drinks, with the new NEXTY Gold Award at the Natural Products Expo East trade ... which is reserved for just those companies that hit high marks on the criteria ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... Church, VA (PRWEB) , ... September 25, 2017 ... ... Handling and Response Preconference Workshop, **Presented by FDAnews**, Nov. 1-3, 2017 – Bethesda, ... the drugmaker passed with flying colors. And then, on the tenth inspection it ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... September 25, 2017 , ... ... music video on Thursday, September 28, 2017 to deliver a powerful message of ... On film Franchise. , Feature film writer/director Robert Adetuyi (Beat the World, Stomp ...
(Date:9/24/2017)... ... September 25, 2017 , ... Andrea Purcell, NMD, had an epiphany one evening. Four months ... her dinner plate. She thought pregnancy was so hard. She wondered why no one talks ... than her. In that moment, she decided to write what she wished her friends and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/18/2017)... KALAMAZOO, Mich. , Sept. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... and OptiMed Specialty Pharmacy of Kalamazoo, Mich. ... a strategic hub service that expedites and streamlines patient ... spirometer, Spiro PD 2.0, and wellness management services.  ... a medical device used to measure lung function for ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... NEW YORK , Sept. 12, 2017   EcoVadis ... global supply chains, has published the first annual edition of its Global ... more than 20,400 companies evaluated by EcoVadis, based on Scorecard Ratings that ... ... Risk & Performance Index ...
(Date:9/9/2017)... Sept. 8, 2017 ... MRI Unit coming to Washington DC ... When: Tuesday, September 12 th – Monday, September 18 th ... offering free MRI brain scans to the public.Where:  ... parked at 501 K Street NW, Washington, D.C.What:BTF brings its nationwide initiative, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: