According to a new study, women who have endometriosis, an abnormal growth of uterine tissue outside the uterus may have a 60 percent higher risk of developing heart disease than women without endometriosis.
The study, published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a journal of the American Heart Association, found women, age 40 or younger, were three times more likely to have heart disease than women in the same age group without endometriosis.
What Does This Mean?
Although the study found an association between the two conditions, it doesn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship. So if you're under 40 and have endometriosis, just what do these findings mean for you?
The association may be related to treatment options for endometriosis.
These include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, hormone therapy, conservative surgery (to remove endometrial tissue and preserve the uterus and ovaries), or in severe cases, hysterectomy to remove the uterus, cervix as well as both ovaries.
Endometriosis affects about 10 percent of women of reproductive age in the United States, although that number is just an estimate.
No matter what additional studies may find regarding the relationship between heart disease and endometriosis, all women, not just those with endometriosis, need to take steps to address their heart health.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women. Whether or not you have endometriosis, you need to take steps now to keep your heart healthy.
These steps include adopting a healthy diet; exercising at least 30 minutes a day at least four to five times a week; maintaining a healthy weight; and managing conditions like diabetes or high cholesterol that can negatively affect your heart.
This study will likely prompt more research into the possible connection between heart disease in women and endometriosis. For now, the association between the two conditions is something doctors and patients should discuss to arrive at an informed endometriosis treatment decision.
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