Heart Health

23 April 2012

Women with heart disease more likely to have baby girls

Women with heart disease are more likely to give birth to female rather than male babies according to a new study.

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Women with heart disease are more likely to give birth to female rather than male babies according to a new study presented today at the World Congress of Cardiology. The study found that three-quarters of the 216 children born to 200 pregnant women with diagnosed heart disease were female.

What the study found

The study reviewed the sex of children born to 200 pregnant women with diagnosed cardiac disease. Sixty-four per cent of these women had diagnosed valvular disease, 19% were living with dilated cardiomyopathy, while 14% had uncorrected or significant residual congenital heart disease.

These 200 women delivered 216 babies of which 75% were female. "We believe that this is the first study looking at the relationship between gender and the mother's cardiac disease," said Dr A. Alizadehasl, Tabriz University, Tabriz, Iran. "We hope that this will lead to further investigation into this area."

"This is a very interesting observation," said Dr Kathryn Taubert, Chief Science Officer, World Heart Federation. "The chromosomes in a man's sperm are responsible for the sex of a baby but this study does suggest that there may be a relationship between the health status of the mother and the sex of the babies that she is able to carry to full-term. As the number of women with heart disease is increasing around the world, this could prove to be a very interesting area for further research."

Women and heart disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes heart disease and stroke, is the biggest killer of women globally causing 8.6 million deaths annually. Women in low- and middle-income countries who develop CVD are more likely to die from it than comparable women in industrialised nations.

However, women do not perceive CVD as the greatest threat to their health they still feel more threatened by cancer than they do by CVD. The good news is that there are steps women can take to protect their hearts. These include stopping smoking, engaging in physical exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and ensuring a healthy food intake.

(EurekAlert, March 2012) 

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Women and heart disease

 

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