WOMEN'S HEALTH WATCH
Women Who Vent Anger Risk Heart Problems
Some women who show their anger may be in danger ofdeveloping blockages in the heart arteries, according to newresearch. Past studies have linked anger and hostility to a higherrisk of heart disease, but most of those studies focused on men.This latest study shows a relationship between anger and hearthealth in women. The findings were published in the December2006 issue of the Journal of Women's Health.
Researchers found that women who tended to outwardlyexpress their anger had a greater risk of artery blockages if theyalso had one of several other heart risk factors, such as older age,diabetes, or high cholesterol. The results were taken from 636women who were taking part in the government-funded Women'sIschemia Syndrome Evaluation study, an investigation directed atimproving heart disease diagnosis in women.All of the participantshad chest pain or other potential symptoms of coronary artery diseaseand underwent angiography to seek out blockages in theheart arteries. They also completed standard measures of hostilityand anger, which measured their temperaments and how theydealt with anger. Only expressed anger was linked to the risk ofshowing objective artery blockages on an angiogram.
Second Opinion May Help Breast Cancer Treatment
A study has shown that, after an initialdiagnosis of breast cancer, women whoreceived a second opinion from a team ofspecialists significantly altered theircourse of treatment in more than half ofthe cases, especially those involving recommendationsfor surgery. Conflictingdiagnoses were found to include everyaspect, from the interpretation of mammogramsto the need for a mastectomy;of the 149 women in the study, 6 werefound to have no breast cancer at all atthe second consideration. The report waspublished in the November 15, 2006,issue of Cancer.
All the women in the study had beenreferred by their physicians to a specializedcancer center for a second opinion,and all the women brought biopsy slides,x-rays, and a surgeon's recommendationfor treatment. Radiologists who specializedin reading breast cancer x-raysoffered conflicting opinions for 45% of thepatients. Reinterpretations of the imagesresulted in a change in surgical proceduresfor 11% of the women; rereadingsof biopsy tissues led to changes for a separate9%. The study was conducted atthe University of Michigan ComprehensiveCancer Center.
Gaining Weight BetweenPregnancies Harmful to Mom, Baby
A study that appeared in the September 30, 2006, issue of theLancet showed that women who gain even a small amount ofweight between pregnancies increase their risk of a poor outcomeof the subsequent pregnancy. Researchers at the HarvardSchool of Public Health studied the records of over 150,000Swedish women who had first and second consecutive birthsfrom 1992 until 2001. The researchers calculated body massindex (BMI) at the beginning of the first pregnancy, and again atthe start of the second.Women who gained 3 or more BMI unitsbetween pregnancies were twice as likely to develop gestationaldiabetes, 76% more likely to have gestational hypertension,30% more likely to have a cesarean delivery, and 63% more likelyto have a stillbirth, compared with women who gained lessthan 1 BMI unit. The more weight they gained, the more likelythey were to have an adverse outcome.
The authors stated that, since the time between births variedfrom 1 year to 10 years, some of the weight gains could beattributed to temporary postpartum weight retention, andunmeasured factors could have affected both maternal weightgain and pregnancy outcomes.
Cola Consumption Linked to Decreased Bone Density
A study that appeared in the October 2006 issue of theAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that older womenwho drink cola—regular, diet, or decaffeinated—have significantlydecreased mineral bone density, putting them at a higherrisk for bone fracture.
Researchers measured the bone density of 1413 women and1125 men, aged 60 years and older, who were taking part in theFramingham Osteoporosis Study. They assessed the participants' diets using a food-frequency questionnaire and foundthat the more cola women drank, the lower their bone density;women who drank cola daily had reduced bone density at thehip ranging from 2.1% to 5.4%, compared with women whodrank no cola.
Scientists at Tufts University's Jean Mayer US Department ofAgriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (Boston,Mass) found no connection between bone density and the consumptionof other kinds of soft drinks, and cola had no effect onthe bone density of men. They speculate that the main differencebetween colas and other soft drinks is that cola contains caffeine,phosphoric acid, and cola extract. Caffeine and phosphoric acidmay be harmful to bone health, but the exact reason for thereduction in bone density in women is still unclear.