Endometriosis may be linked to heart disease
Analyses of prospectively collected data from participants in the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHS II) show that laparoscopically confirmed endometriosis is associated with an increased risk for subsequent development of coronary heart disease (CHD). The finding of increased risk was robust across multiple CHD endpoints and found to be highest among young women.
Fan Mu, ScD, lead author of the published article,1 was involved in the study as a graduate student at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston. She told Contemporary OB/GYN, “Endometriosis has been associated with systemic chronic inflammation, heightened oxidative stress, and an atherogenic lipid profile, all of which may increase a women’s risk for CHD. However, to our knowledge, ours is the first study to explore an association between endometriosis and CHD risk.”
“Practitioners should be aware that women with endometriosis may be at higher risk for heart disease compared to women without endometriosis, and that this increased risk may be highest among young women. Based on our findings, we believe it is important that practitioners promote heart healthy lifestyle habits among women with endometriosis, even young women, and screen them for heart disease that remains the leading cause of death in women,” said senior study author Stacey Missmer, ScD, Director of Epidemiologic Research in Reproductive Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston.
The NHS II enrolled 116,430 female nurses who were ages 25 to 42 years at study entry in 1989. After excluding women with a pre-enrollment history of myocardial infarction, stroke, angiographically confirmed angina, or coronary artery bypass graft surgery/coronary angioplasty/stent, the study investigating the association between endometriosis and CHD risk included 5,296 women with laparoscopically confirmed endometriosis and 109,161 women controls without endometriosis at study entry.