Have Four or More Children: Double the Risk of Heart Disease
As a mother, you may want to have a houseful of children. Children are a joy, and people who dislike children are exceedingly strange people. So who can blame you for wanting a handful of them? There is however an overhead to having four or more children you ought to bear in mind.
Recent research at the University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center has revealed that women who have given birth to four or more children are liable to a greater risk of heart disease. Twice as much as a matter of fact.
The following are the salient facts that have been ascertained.
- The risk of thickening of arteries increases with the number of pregnancies you have.
- During pregnancy, the heart has to pump blood at a 50% higher rate, increasing the strain on that all important organ
- Aspects of pregnancy have been associated with heart diseases previously
The result of the research states that after a woman has given birth to three children, each additional pregnancy increases the risk of thickening of the arteries. When the arteries thicken, the passage inside narrows, and the heart has to work much harder to pump blood. This condition is one of the most common reasons for heart attacks.
Since aspects of pregnancy had already been linked to the risk of developing heart disease, the researchers first set out to establish if that was indeed so. Whether the number of childbirths had anything to do with early symptoms of heart disorders showing up. The onset of pregnancy brings about some profound changes to a woman’s body, some of which can put a strain on her cardio-vascular system. The heart, for instance, starts pumping blood at a 50% greater rate.
The study that included 1,644 women of an average age of 45 picked from the Dallas Heart Study. The objective of this study was to take a close look at how a progressive narrowing and hardening of the arteries can impede blood flow and ultimately lead to the onset of a heart condition.
To that end measurements were made of Coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores and aortic wall thickness (AWT) to see if the women had narrowing and thickening of arterial walls that would show an increased risk of heart attack.
It was found that women who had given birth to four or more children had nearly twice the risk of heart attacks than those who had given birth to three children or less, and this was regardless of factors such as the women’s socio-economic status, education, race and other such extraneous ones that are known to elevate the risk of cardio-vascular disease.
Ironically, it was found that women who had no children or only one suffered from the same risk and for the same reason.
In the words of Dr. Monika Sanghvi, the chief author, “Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that the changes associated with pregnancy may provide insight into a woman’s future cardiovascular risk and deserves further attention.”
She however, adds that this was not a recommendation to have only two or three children.
After reading this, those of you who want a large family, please don’t be disappointed. There are other ways of having a large family. Adoption is one such way. There are a very large number of children in orphanages and other such institutions who are eagerly waiting to find a home where they are loved and cherished. You would be doing a large favor to the society by providing that to some of them. We have read about celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt giving a home to several such children alongside biological children. You could even take the more radical step by using surrogacy. So go for as large a family as you like and can handle, but please do not take the unnecessary risk of birthing more than three.