Recurrent Miscarriage and Heart Attack Risks

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Studies have shown that recurrent miscarriage increases a woman’s chance of having a heart attack fivefold later in life according to an article in the medical journal Heart. Did you know that miscarriage is one of the most common pregnancy complications and that one in five pregnancies will end in miscarriage?

One study, which analyzed data collected over a ten-year period from over 11,500 women in Germany, found that 25% of the women studied had at least one miscarriage. Researchers found that women were five times as likely to have a heart attack later in life after recurrent miscarriages and that “each miscarriage increased heart attack risk by 40%.” Also, those women who miscarried were more than four times as likely to have a heart attack. Additionally, underlying risk factors, such as high blood pressure or blood vessel dysfunction, may also contribute to heart attacks following recurrent miscarriages.

The study did not factor in other medical disorders that may increase the likelihood of miscarriage and heart attack risk later in life such as chlamydia, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and thrombophilia (a genetic blood clotting disorder).

Women who have suffered one or more miscarriages should not live their lives “expecting” to have a heart attack. Lifestyle modifications, such as weight loss, exercise, a healthy diet, smoking cessation, etc. will reduce your heart attack risk and may also reduce the risk of miscarriage. If you have suffered recurrent miscarriages, please talk to your doctor about increased heart attack risk and learn what you can do to reduce the likelihood of a cardiac event occurring later in your life.

Author: Katherine K. McKnight, M.D.


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