Contraceptives raise atherosclerosis risk

Oral contraceptives cause a 20-30 per cent increase in atherosclerosis risk for every decade they are taken, Belgian research has shown.

The link was found in the Asklepios study, which involved 2,524 adults aged 35-55, all of whom had healthy cardiovascular profiles.

For the study, vascular echography of the carotid and femoral arteries was taken to gauge levels of plaque.

Among the 1,301 women taking part in the study, 27 per cent were taking oral contraceptives and 10 per cent HRT.

However, when past oral contraceptive use was considered, the researchers found that 81 per cent had taken contraceptives for at least a year. The median duration was 13 years.

After adjusting for confounding factors, including smoking, BP and obesity, the researchers found the use of oral contraceptives for 10 years was associated with a 17 per cent increased risk of plaque in the carotid artery and a 28 per cent increased risk of plaque in the femoral artery.

Looking at the prevalence of bilateral disease, the researchers found 10-year oral contraceptive use increased the odds for carotid plaque by 42 per cent and for femoral plaque by 34 per cent.

AHA scientific sessions 4-7 November 2007, Orlando, Florida

Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

GP appointment

General practice delivered 342m appointments in 2022 - and lost nearly 500 GPs

General practice in England delivered around 342m appointments in total in 2022 with...

NHS sign

Local GPs unite to take over two practices run by hospital trust

GPs in Swindon have come together to take over two practices that had spent more...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Why are junior doctors preparing to strike?

Talking General Practice speaks to BMA GP trainee committee chair Dr David Smith...


Practices face losing out on QOF income amid soaring demand

GP practices risk losing out on QOF income this year because sky-high demand for...

Nurse giving older man a COVID-19 vaccine

JCVI recommends targeted COVID-19 vaccination programme in 2023

People at higher risk of severe COVID-19 should be offered a booster vaccination...

Health and social care secretary Steve Barclay leaving number 10 Downing Street

Government sets out plans for 'major conditions' health strategy

The government is to set out a strategy to tackle six 'major' health conditions in...