Thursday August 16, 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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Epidurals Can be Cut Into Half, with the Help of a New Labour Pain Relieving Drug

It did not cause any negative effects for the mother or baby.

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Labour pain relieving drug may cut need for epidural: Lancet
Labour pain relieving drug may cut need for epidural: Lancet. Flickr

Prescribing women a new drug called remifentanil to help manage their labour pain may halve the need for an epidural than the traditional pethidine, claims a study.

The study, published in the Lancet, suggested that using remifentanil instead of pethidine could reduce the need for epidurals, instrumental deliveries and consequent morbidity for large numbers of women worldwide.

Epidurals — injections of pain relief drugs around the spinal cord — provide effective pain relief but increase the risk of needing instrumental delivery (forceps or vacuum) during birth.

It can also increase the risk of trauma and long-lasting problems for the mother, such as incontinence and sexual dysfunction.

“Our findings challenge the routine use of pethidine for pain relief during labour,” said lead author Matthew Wilson, from Britain’s University of Sheffield.

"Remifentanil reduced the need for an epidural by half and there were no lasting problems for the mothers and babies
“Remifentanil reduced the need for an epidural by half and there were no lasting problems for the mothers and babies. Pixabay

“Remifentanil reduced the need for an epidural by half and there were no lasting problems for the mothers and babies in our trial, although the effect of remifentanil on maternal oxygen levels needs to be clarified in further studies,” he added.

Remifentanil is rarely offered routinely in labour and its use restricted to women who cannot receive an epidural for medical reasons (such as blood clotting disorders).

Conversely, pethidine has been in widespread use since the 1950s, even after long been known not helpful to all women.

The study included 400 women aged over 16 years old who were giving birth after 37 weeks.

Only half as many women in the remifentanil group went on to have an epidural (19 per cent) than in the pethidine group (41 per cent).

Remifentanil instead of pethidine could reduce the need for epidurals. Flickr
Remifentanil instead of pethidine could reduce the need for epidurals. Flickr

These women rated their pain as less severe and also had less likely to need forceps and vacuum during labour than women given pethidine (15 per cent vs 26 per cent).

Also Read: Obesity During Pregnancy May up Kid’s Risk of Epilepsy

However, remifentanil was associated with twice as many mothers having low oxygen levels than pethidine (14 per cent vs 5 per cent)

But, despite this increase it did not cause any negative effects for the mother or baby, but more research in larger groups will be needed to confirm this, the researchers said.(IANS)