Saturday December 15, 2018

Sex Hormone Levels Linked to Heart Disease in Post-Menopausal Women

Postmenopausal women with high testosterone at heart disease risk

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Sex Hormone Levels Linked to Heart Disease in Post-Menopausal Women
Sex Hormone Levels Linked to Heart Disease in Post-Menopausal Women. Pixabay
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Postmenopausal women with a higher blood level of the testosterone male hormone and a higher ratio of the oestrogen hormone could be at a higher risk of developing heart disease later in life, finds a study.

Among post-menopausal women, a higher ratio of testosterone/oestradiol — a major oestrogen produced in the ovaries — was associated with an elevated risk for incident cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary heart disease and heart failure events, while higher levels of testosterone were associated with increased CVD and coronary heart disease.

On the other hand, higher oestradiol levels were associated with a lower coronary heart disease risk.

“Although sex hormone levels may be linked to future cardiovascular events, it is unclear what the best intervention is to modify sex hormone levels for risk reduction,” said Erin D. Michos, Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, US.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“However, a sex hormone profile higher in male hormones may identify a woman at higher risk for cardiovascular disease who may benefit from other risk reduction strategies,” Michos added.

The risk for cardiovascular disease is much lower in women than men until women reach the age of 50 years of age, then risk rises dramatically after menopause.

Previous studies have demonstrated that higher androgen and lower oestrogen levels are associated with risk factors for heart disease in post-menopausal women; however, other studies show conflicting results, so the relationship between sex hormones and cardiovascular events in post-menopausal women remains unclear.

Also Read: Women Gain Weight in New Relationship

The new research, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, evaluated the association of sex hormone levels with incident cardiovascular disease, over a 12-year follow-up in 2,834 post-menopausal women free of cardiovascular disease at baseline.

Sex hormone concentrations were measured using fasting serum samples. Sex hormone levels after menopause were associated with women’s increased risk of CVD in later life. (IANS)

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Trump Can’t Deny Birth Control Coverage: U.S. Court

The case became more complicated after the Trump administration last month issued new birth control coverage rules that are set to supersede those at issue in the lawsuit before the 9th Circuit.

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birth control, contraceptive
A one-month dosage of hormonal birth control pills is displayed in Sacramento, Calif. VOA

A divided U.S. appeals court Thursday blocked rules by the Trump administration that allowed more employers to opt out of providing women with no-cost birth control.

The ruling, however, may be short lived because the administration has adopted new rules on contraceptive coverage that are set to take effect next month and will likely prompt renewed legal challenges.

Thursday’s ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concerned changes to birth control coverage requirements under President Barack Obama’s health care law that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued in October 2017.

States were likely to succeed on their claim that those changes were made without required notice and public comment, the appeals court panel said in a 2-1 decision.

USA, birth control
A man stands outside the main door of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals building in San Francisco. VOA

The majority upheld a preliminary injunction against the rules issued by U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam last year. It, however, limited the scope of the injunction, applying it only to the five states in the lawsuit and not the entire country.

Another federal judge also blocked the rules, and her nationwide injunction remains in place.

An email to the Justice Department seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Obama’s health care law required most companies to cover birth control at no additional cost, though it included exemptions for religious organizations. The new policy allowed more categories of employers, including publicly traded companies, to opt out of providing free contraception to women by claiming religious objections. It also allowed any company that is not publicly traded to deny coverage on moral grounds.

The Department of Justice said in court documents that the rules were about protecting a small group of “sincere religious and moral objectors” from having to violate their beliefs. The changes were favored by social conservatives who are staunch supporters of President Donald Trump.

Reproductive Rights, abortion, women, birth control
A community health worker holds up contraceptives during a lecture on family planning at a reproductive health clinic run by an NGO in Tondo city, metro Manila. VOA

California filed a lawsuit to block the changes that was joined by Delaware, Maryland, New York and Virginia.

“Today’s decision is an important step to protect a woman’s right to access cost-free birth control and make independent decisions about her own reproductive health care,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

‘Economic harm’

The states argued that the changes could result in millions of women losing free birth control services, forcing them to seek contraceptive care through state-run programs or programs that the states had to reimburse.

The states show with “reasonable probability” that the new rules will lead women to lose employer-sponsored contraceptive coverage, “which will then result in economic harm to the states,” 9th Circuit Judge J. Clifford Wallace, a nominee of Republican President Richard Nixon, wrote for the majority.

Reproductive Rights, abortion, women, birth control
Newer Contraception Tries to Engage Men. VOA

In a dissent, 9th Circuit Judge Andrew Kleinfeld said the economic harm to the states was “self-inflicted” because they chose to provide contraceptive coverage to women. The states, therefore, did not have the authority to bring the lawsuit, said Kleinfeld, a nominee of Republican President George H.W. Bush.

Also Read: To Diversify The Industry, Apple Pledges To Train More Women

The case became more complicated after the Trump administration last month issued new birth control coverage rules that are set to supersede those at issue in the lawsuit before the 9th Circuit. Under the new rules, large companies whose stock is sold to investors won’t be able to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage.

Wallace said the new rules did not make the case before the 9th Circuit moot because they are not set to take effect until January. (VOA)