Summary: Birth Control Pill Linked to Artery-Clogging Plaques

Birth control pills have been linked for the first time to plaques that could potentially endanger the heart.

  • On the second day of the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2007 Conference, Dr. Ernst Rietzschel reported on a recent finding of himself and his colleagues. Dr. Rietzschel and his colleagues studies 1,301 women, ages 35-55 years old, in the Belgian community. All of the women were at a low risk for cardiovascular disease. Of the 1,301 women, 352 were taking oral contraceptives. About 81% of those women had taken oral contraceptives for at least one year, and the median exposure to oral contraceptives was 13 years. The study found that the women had a 20%-30% increased prevalence of artery-clogging plaque for every 10 years of oral contraceptive exposure.1

1Abstract 3537: Oral Contraceptives Cause Major C-Reactive Protein Rises in the Female General Population, Circulation, 2007; 116:II_800-II_801.

 

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