There’s a new study that suggests the more children a woman has, the more of a chance she might be at risk for heart disease later in her life. Women who have five or more children face a greater chance of developing health issues compared to women who have just one or two children. The study was conducted by a team of researchers at the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work at the University of Hawaii at Mano and published in the Journal of Aging and Health.
Lead by researcher Sara Hipp, the study looked at data from about 25,000 people aged 50 and older. About 30 percent of the respondents that had five or more children said that they had a heart condition such as coronary heart disease, angina, and congestive heart failure. In comparison, 22 percent of the study’s participants that has only one or two children had heart disease while 21 percent with no children said they were diagnosed with a heart condition.
According to a press release, Hipp said, “Many studies have linked women's reproductive characteristics, such as their age at their first childbirth, with their risk of heart disease later in life. But there wasn't much known about the association between family size and heart disease, and very few studies have looked at how fatherhood may relate to men's risk of heart disease."
It's also been noted that just 25 percent of the participants in the study said that they were told by their doctor or a medical professional about their heart condition within the last two years. Hipp adds that the data shows that having more children was associated with greater heart disease, despite the woman’s health history, age, race and ethnicity or birthplace.
The association between the number of pregnancies and heart disease persisted in women even after researchers factored in their individual lifestyles, such as smoking, the number of times they exercised per week and their diets.
Some symptoms that are associated with heart disease include chest discomfort, nausea, indigestion, heartburn, or stomach pain. Many people also feel exhaustion, snore, or sweat at night. Health experts also point out that women can have a heart attack without feeling chest pain, but can feel pain or discomfort in their neck, jaw, shoulder, or upper back.