Number of Children, Age at First Birth May Contribute to Higher CVD Risk in Women

Various reproductive factors linked to CVD risk; number of children tied to CVD risk for both genders
Various reproductive factors linked to CVD risk; number of children tied to CVD risk for both genders

HealthDay News — Reproductive factors, including early menarche and menopause, are associated with increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, according to a study published online January 15 in Heart.

Sanne A.E. Peters, PhD, and Mark Woodward, PhD, from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. examined the correlation between reproductive factors and incident CVD in the UK Biobank, which recruited over 500,000 participants aged 40 to 69 years. During seven years of follow-up, there were 9,054 incident CVD cases, 5,782 coronary heart disease cases, and 3,489 stroke cases among 267,440 women and 215,088 men with no CVD history at baseline. 

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The researchers found that for CVD, the adjusted hazard ratios were 1.10 for early menarche (before age 12 years), 0.97 for each year increase in age at first birth, 1.04 for each miscarriage, 1.14 for each stillbirth, and 1.33 for early menopause (before age 47 years). For CVD, adjusted hazard ratios of 1.16 and 2.30 were seen for hysterectomy without oophorectomy or with previous oophorectomy, respectively. In both women and men, each additional child was associated with a hazard ratio for CVD of 1.03.

"Early menarche, early menopause, earlier age at first birth, and a history of miscarriage, stillbirth, or hysterectomy were each independently associated with a higher risk of CVD in later life," the authors write. "The relationship between the number of children and incident CVD was similar for men and women."

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