Hormone Contraceptives Nearly Double Stroke Risk in Women: American Heart Association

Where is Barbara Striesand when you need her. She has been on many daytimes shows talking about women and heart disease. She has taken this on as a cause, yet no mention of this from her on this report from the American Heart Association. Hmmmmmmmm

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 7, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – February 7 is “National Wear Red Day,” sponsored by the American Heart Association (AHA) to draw attention to the risk of heart disease and stroke in women. On Thursday, the organization released new stroke prevention guidelines specifically for women, reminding them that hormonal contraceptives like birth control pills increase their risk of hypertension (high blood pressure), blood clots and stroke – especially for women who are over 40, overweight, smoke or suffer from migraine headaches.


The association between oral contraceptives and stroke has long been known. The guidelines released by the AHA is an attempt to synthesize the various studies.

The guidelines state that the risk from low-dose oral contraceptives (OCs) is small, perhaps 1.4 -2.0. This is lower than the risk of stroke from pregnancy.

OCs: Summary and Gaps

The relative increase in stroke risk with low-dose OCs is small, approximately 1.4 to 2.0 times that of non-OC users. [sup]144[/sup] On the basis of the longitudinal data from the Danish population-based study, among 10000 women who use the 20-μg dose of desogestrel with ethinyl estradiol for 1 year, 2 women will have arterial thrombosis and 6.8 will have venous thrombosis. [sup]144[/sup] The risk of stroke with OC use also appears to belower than the risk associated with pregnancy (≈3 per 10000 deliveries.) [sup]143[/sup]

Despite the overall low risk of stroke from hormonal contraception, certain subgroups of women, particularly those who are older, smoke cigarettes, or have hypertension, diabetes mellitus, obesity, hypercholesterolemia, or prothrombotic mutations, may be at higher risk for stroke. Estimates are based primarily on case-control studies and a smaller number of cohort studies primarily from northern European countries, which limits generalizability to other populations.

(see page 16)

OCs: Recommendations

  1. OCs may be harmful in women with additional risk factors (eg, cigarette smoking, prior thromboembolic events) (Class III; Level of Evidence B) [sup]224,225[/sup]
  1. Among OC users, aggressive therapy of stroke risk factors may be reasonable (Class IIb; Level of Evidence C) [sup]224,225,231[/sup]
  1. Routine screening for prothrombotic mutations before initiation of hormonal contraception is not useful (Class III; Level of Evidence A) [sup]229[/sup]
  1. Measurement of BP before initiation of hormonal contraception is recommended (Class I; Level of Evidence B) [sup]220,235,236[/sup]

(see page 17)

Heart disease for women is soaring. Barbara Striesand has given that a public face.

According to the guidelines, use of oral contraceptives nearly doubles the risk of stroke in women, who die from stroke at a much higher rate than men. Stroke is the third-leading cause of death in women, accounting for 60 percent of all stroke deaths, according to the AHA.

Citing the “well-established risk” of birth control use by older women, cigarette smokers, and those who suffer from hypertension or migraines, the guidelines recommend that women be screened for high blood pressure before starting on the pill. The guidelines also suggest that users of oral contraceptives who have one or more additional risk factors for stroke – such as hypertension, migraines or obesity – pursue “aggressive treatment” of those risk factors while on the pill.

The Pill Kills

“It’s about gender inequality,” said Streisand. “In the last 50 years, most of the research has been focused on men. … Ever since 1984, more women have died from heart disease than men.”

According to the American Heart Association, approximately 43 million women are affected by heart disease, and it kills one of every three women.

“Heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined,” Streisand noted.

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