Starting Periods Early Linked to Health Risks Later in Life 0

A study including almost half a million people finds that starting periods before the age of 12 increases the risk of heart disease and stroke later in life.

As cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, it is vital to understand what increases risk.

Although many of the factors involved — such as obesity, hypertension, and smoking — are now well-known, there are still some missing parts to the puzzle.

Certain reproductive factors — which might include early menopause, early periods, or menarche, complications of pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth, and hysterectomy — have long been thought to predict CVD later in life.

Some studies, for example, have shown that early menopause might be linked to increased CVD risk, while a history of miscarriage may be linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease. And, some studies have found a relationship between stillbirth and CVD.

However, other similar investigations failed to find significant links. So, although there is growing evidence that reproductive factors play a role in CVD risk, the exact scope and breadth of the relationship is unclear.

Reproductive factors and CVD revisited

So, researchers from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom set out to get a more definitive answer. They wanted to know which reproductive factors, if any, increased CVD risk. Their results are published this week in the BMJ.

They delved into data from the U.K. Biobank, which is a population-based study including more than half a million men and women under the age of 69, recruited from 2006 to 2010.

Individuals who enrolled in the study filled out questionnaires covering information on lifestyle, medical history, and their environment. Each participant also had blood, urine, and saliva tests.

In total, 267,440 women and 215,088 men were tracked up to March 2016 or until they had their first stroke or heart attack. None had signs of CVD at the start of the trial.

Of the women, 51 percent came from the most affluent third of the U.K., and 60 percent had never smoked. Their average age was 56 at the start of the study.

Other demographic information included the fact that:

their average age at menarche was 13

85 percent had been pregnant

44 percent had two children

their average age at first child was 26

25 percent had miscarried

3 percent had had a stillbirth

42 percent of men had fathered two children before the study

The influence of reproductive factors

Before analysis, a number of potential influencing factors were taken into account. Across 7 years of monitoring, there were 9,054 cases of CVD (5,782 cases of coronary artery disease and 3,489 cases of stroke). Of these cases, 34 percent were in women.

They found that women who had had their first period before the age of 12 had a 10 percent greater risk of CVD compared with those who started at the age of 13 or older.

Also, women who went through the menopause before the age of 47 had a 33 percent increase in CVD risk. The risk was particularly pronounced for stroke, rising to 42 percent.

Similarly, miscarriages were found to increase the risk of heart disease, raising the risk by 6 percent for every miscarriage. Stillbirth increased CVD risk by 22 percent overall, and by 44 percent for stroke.

Women who had undergone a hysterectomy had a 12 percent greater risk of CVD and a 20 percent increase in heart disease risk. If these women had undergone the removal of the ovaries, or an oophorectomy, before the hysterectomy, their risk of CVD was doubled.

Also, women who had children at a younger age saw an increased CVD risk, which dropped by 3 percent with every year older.

The authors advise:

“More frequent cardiovascular screening would seem to be sensible among women who are early in their reproductive cycle, or who have a history of adverse reproductive events or a hysterectomy, as this might help to delay or prevent their onset of [cardiovascular disease].”

CVD risk and parity

Some studies had shown that the number of children that a woman has, or parity, increases CVD risk. This relationship was also found in this analysis.

That being said, the same incremental increase in risk was measured in the men — so, rather than being due to biological factors, it is more likely to do with behavioral and psychological factors.

The authors note some limitations. For instance, the study was observational, so it is not possible to draw firm conclusions. The team also relied on participants’ recall of reproductive events, which, in some cases, happened many years prior.

However, because the study involved a large sample size and detailed information on each participant, the findings certainly carry weight.

As ever, more work is needed to illuminate the details behind these interactions. The authors end their paper by saying, “Future studies are needed to confirm the present findings and to clarify the biological, behavioral, and social mechanisms involved.”

Source: Medical News Today

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Risk of getting cancer from drinking just one bottle of wine is the same as smoking up to 10 CIGARETTES a week 0

Having one bottle of wine each week raises the risk of cancer by the same amount as smoking up to 10 cigarettes, scientists claim.

In the first study of its kind, academics managed to compare the known dangers of smoking to that of drinking too much.

They found the ‘cigarette equivalent’ of one bottle of wine – roughly 10 units – is five cigarettes for men or ten for women each week.

And the risk of cancer from downing three bottles of red or white wine each week, or 10 large glasses, is much higher.

In the first study of its kind, academics managed to compare the known dangers of smoking to that of drinking too much

In the first study of its kind, academics managed to compare the known dangers of smoking to that of drinking too much

Researchers at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Bangor University and University of Southampton carried out the study.

Dr Theresa Hydes and team estimated 10 in 1,000 men would develop cancer at some point in their lives from drinking one bottle of wine each week.

However, for women this figure was 14 out of 1,000, according to the study published in the journal BioMedCentral Public Health.

Men were more likely to get gastrointestinal cancers from drinking, while the risk of breast cancer was greatest for women.

The risk was much higher for both men and women who drink three bottles of wine per week – more than double the recommended amount.

The study found 19 out of 1,000 men and 36 out of 1,000 women would eventually develop cancer if they drank this amount.

And the risk of cancer from downing three bottles of red or white wine each week, or 10 large glasses, is much higher

And the risk of cancer from downing three bottles of red or white wine each week, or 10 large glasses, is much higher

The NHS recommends that adults drink no more than 14 units each week — that's 14 single shots of spirit or six pints of beer or a bottle and a half of wine

The NHS recommends that adults drink no more than 14 units each week — that’s 14 single shots of spirit or six pints of beer or a bottle and a half of wine


Beer before wine and you’ll feel fine, is how the tactical tippler thinks – but the old adage appears to be a myth.

In a less than surprising revelation, researchers last month found hangovers are just as bad, regardless of what order you drink your drinks.

Scientists gave alcoholic drinks to 90 volunteers in different combinations in a laboratory experiment on two separate nights.

Some were asked to drink two and a half pints of Carlsberg, followed by four large glasses of white wine. A second group started with wine before beer.

Researchers had to control the drunk participants, who were singing and dancing, with a megaphone. They were sent to bed in the lab at 1am.

Participants were asked about their hangover the following day and gave a score on a so-called Acute Hangover Scale.

The findings, led by a team at Cambridge University, indicated that no matter how you order your drinks, if you drink too much you are still likely to be ill.

Dr Kai Hensel, one of the researchers, said: ‘The vomiting rate was a little higher than I’d have thought. But they enjoyed it.’

This carries the same risk as smoking eight cigarettes a week for men, or 23 a week for women, Dr Hydes and colleagues estimated.

The researchers did not estimate the risk of cancer from drinking beer because they went on units, not type of beverage.

Dr Hydes said: ‘We must be absolutely clear that this study is not saying that drinking alcohol in moderation is in any way equivalent to smoking.

‘Our finds relate to lifetime risk across the population. At an individual level, cancer risk represented by drinking or smoking will vary.

‘And for many individuals, the impact of ten units of alcohol (one bottle of wine) or five to ten cigarettes may be very different.’

Dr Hydes said comparing the risks of alcohol to smoking could encourage adults to cut down on booze.

She said: ‘It is well established that heavy drinking is linked to cancer of the mouth, throat, voice box, gullet, bowel, liver and breast.

‘Yet, in contrast to smoking, this is not widely understood by the public.

‘We hope by using cigarettes as the comparator we could communicate this message more effectively to help individuals make more informed lifestyle choices.’

The researchers used data available from Cancer Research UK and official statistic bodies used by nations in the UK, including ONS.

They were able to analyse what proportion of deaths can be attributed to smoking and alcohol, and then estimate the risk of cancer they both cause.

The NHS advise men and women not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis – such as weekly.

Regularly consuming more than the recommended amount is known to raise the risk of cancer, liver disease and heart disease.

A large glass of wine contains around three units, while a bottle is closer to the 10 mark. A pint of beer is around 2.3.

National Blood Service intensifies blood donation campaign 0

The National Blood Service Ghana (NBSG), through a campaign led by its Brand Ambassador, Maame K. Stephens, and the Kaysens Group, has organised a ‘MarchMarch’ blood donation campaign at Aburi.

A statement from the NBSG explained that last year, on the Ambassador’s birthday, in March, she organised a “march” up the Aburi Mountain campaigning for people to donate blood, hence the name “MarchMarch.”

It said the event would be held annually to draw awareness on the need to donate blood and encourage members of the public to participate.

The event had more than 1500 participants who started with aerobics, followed by an energetic early morning walk from the Ayi Mensah Police Station to the Peduase Methodist Basic School, where the funfair continued till late in the afternoon.

Bikers, the BMW Club Ghana, motor riders, skaters, dancers, religious institutions, corporate organisations, Miss Ghana Beauty Queens, Mr Ghana, and social clubs took part in the event, which was supported by the Ministries of Health, Youth and Sports.

“By attending the event, you are already supporting the cause. Other ways to support include but are not limited to – sharing pictures and fliers on social media, encouraging a friend to donate blood, volunteering at a blood drive, donating supplies or products, and organising or sponsoring a blood drive,” it added.   

Mr Elorm Ametepe, the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Health, said the walk was in line with the country’s quest of ensuring healthy lifestyles and promoting the well-being of people since donating blood helped in maintaining good health.

“There were very limited ‘O’ negative blood group branded T-shirts to show how rare ‘O’ negative blood group was and its implications,” it added.


Source: GNA


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