Recent studies shows that the most common sexually transmitted disease in the US, HPV, may increase the risk of heart disease in women.
The statistics show that women who were HPV positive were two to three times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than women without HPV. This study does not show that HPV causes heart disease, but rather that those with HPV are at a higher risk of developing heart disease.
It is estimated that approximately 50 percent of sexually active men and women have contacted HPV at some point in their lives. It is also estimated that 80 percent of women have been infected with HPV at least once by the age of 50. There are over 100 different strains of HPV. In most cases, the body fights off the virus and it causes no health problems. However, there are a few strains of HPV that can cause genital warts or cancer, particularly cervical cancer.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. They examined data of 2,450 women ages 20 to 59. The women’s HPV status was determined by DNA testing through vaginal swabs. Heart disease was considered as any self-reported heart attack or stroke.
About half of the women in the sample tested positive for HPV. Sixty of the women reported heart disease, and 39 of that 60 also tested positive for HPV. After considering other potential risk factors such as smoking, weight, blood pressure, and more, researchers determined that women with HPV were 2.3 times more likely to have heart disease than those without HPV. They also determined that women with a cancerous strain of HPV were 2.9 times more likely to have cardiovascular disease.
These results are still only preliminary, as it is difficult for researchers to determine which developed first. It’s possible that the women who had both heart disease and HPV had heart disease before they were infected with HPV. More studies are needed to prove if there is a direct link.
HPV can infect men as well, however, there is no reliable way to test men for HPV at this time. This is why most HPV information is directed towards women.
HPV May Raise Women’s Risk of Contracting Heart Disease
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