Antibiotics May Increase Heart Disease Risk in Older Women

Gut microbiota alternations have been linked to a variety of life-threatening disorders.

According to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention | Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2018, women who take antibiotics for long periods, especially in late adulthood, have an increased risk of death from heart disease and in general. It’s been known that antibiotic use is associated with long-lasting changes in gut microbiota however, until this study, researchers have yet to assess relatively health populations in order to determine how duration of antibiotic use at different times in adulthood may relate to all-cause and cause-specific risk of death.

“Gut microbiota alternations have been associated with a variety of life-threatening disorders, such as cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer,” Lu Qi, MD, PhD, professor of epidemiology, Tulane University, said in a statement.

To further examine this, researchers from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health studied 37,510 women, aged 60 years and older, who reported antibiotic use and were free of heart disease and cancer at the study’s start. Women were classified into 4 groups based on the length of time antibiotics were used; not at all, less than 15 days, 15 days to less than 2 months, or 2 or more months. Researchers followed the study population for 8 years, from 2004 until June 2012.

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