Connect with us

Health

Irregular, long periods linked to shorter life span in 24-year study

Published

on

In a finding that suggests a woman’s periods might be a powerful indicator of her general health, researchers report that women with irregular and long menstrual cycles face a higher risk of early death.

In a study that spanned 24 years and included more than 79,000 premenopausal women who had no history of heart disease, cancer or diabetes, those who’d always had irregular menstrual cycles were more likely to die before the age of 70 than those who had regular cycles.

“The important point illustrated by this study is that menstrual regularity and reproductive health provides a window into overall long-term health,” Dr. Adam Balen, a professor of reproductive medicine at Leeds Teaching Hospitals in Britain, told CNN.

“Young women with irregular periods need a thorough assessment, not only of their hormones and metabolism but also of their lifestyle so that they can be advised about steps that they can take which might enhance their overall health,” said Balen, who wasn’t involved in the study.
Women who had a usual cycle length of 40 days or more at ages 18-22 and 29-46 were more likely to die prematurely than those who had a usual cycle length of 26-31 days in the same age ranges.

These associations were strongest for deaths from heart disease, compared to cancer or other causes. The increased risk was also slightly stronger among smokers, according to the study published Sept. 30 in the BMJ medical journal.

The findings suggest that a woman’s menstrual cycle should be considered an important sign of general health throughout her childbearing years, the researchers said in a journal news release. They were led by Jorge Chavarro, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

They said the associations between long and irregular menstrual cycles and increased risk of premature death are likely due to hormone disruptions. But the study did not prove that irregular periods actually caused early death, just that there was an association.

Irregular and long menstrual cycles are common among women of reproductive age and have been linked with a higher risk of major chronic diseases including ovarian cancer, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and mental health problems.

However, there’s been little previous evidence to link irregular or long menstrual cycles with early death risk.

“These data will encourage future interrogation of menstrual symptoms and pathologies as an indicator of long-term health outcomes and may provide an early opportunity to implement preventative strategies to improve women’s health across the life span,” Dr. Jacqueline Maybin told the Science Media Centre in London, CNN reported. She is a senior research fellow and consultant gynecologist at the University of Edinburgh’s MRC Centre for Reproductive Health.

“A specific underlying cause of irregular menstruation may increase the risk of premature death, rather than the irregular bleeding, per se,” said Maybin, who was not involved in the research. “We already know that women with polycystic ovarian syndrome [PCOS], a leading cause of irregular periods, have an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer of the womb. It is important that women with PCOS speak to their doctor to reduce these risks.”

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has more on menstrual irregularities.

Copyright 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.



Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Health

‘Green prescriptions’ could cancel mental health benefits for some

Published

on

So-called “green prescriptions” may end up being counterproductive for people with mental health conditions, researchers say.

Spending time in nature is believed to benefit mental health, so some doctors are beginning to “prescribe” outdoor time for their patients.

That led researchers to investigate whether being in nature helps actually does help people with issues such as anxiety and depression. They collected data from more than 18,000 people in 18 countries.

The takeaway: Time in nature does provide several benefits for people with mental health conditions, but only if they choose on their own to visit green spaces.

While being advised to spend time outdoors can encourage such activity, it can also undermine the potential emotional benefits, according to the authors of the study published this month in the journal Scientific Reports.

The researchers said they were surprised to find that people with depression were spending time in nature as often as folks with no mental health issues, and that people with anxiety were doing so much more often.

While in nature, those with depression and anxiety tended to feel happy and reported low anxiety. But those benefits appeared to be undermined when the visits were done at others’ urging, the investigators found.

The more external pressure people with depression and anxiety felt to visit nature, the less motivated they were to do so and the more anxious they felt.

“These findings are consistent with wider research that suggests that urban natural environments provide spaces for people to relax and recover from stress,” said study leader Michelle Tester-Jones, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.

But the findings also show that health care practitioners and loved ones should be sensitive about recommending time in nature for people who have mental health issues.

“It could be helpful to encourage them to spend more time in places that people already enjoy visiting, so they feel comfortable and can make the most of the experience,” Tester-Jones said in a university news release.

More information

For more on the benefits of green spaces, go to the National Recreation and Park Association.

Copyright 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

Study: Nearly half of ‘essential workers’ in U.S. at risk for severe COVID-19

Published

on

Nov. 9 (UPI) — Nearly half of those classified as “essential workers” in the United States are at increased risk for severe COVID-19, according to an analysis published Monday by JAMA Internal Medicine.

This means that more than 74 million workers and those with whom they live could be at risk for serious illness, based on disease risk guidelines developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the researchers said.

“Many parts of the country face high and rising infection rates, [and] we should not think about work exposure and health risks in isolation, given that workers and persons at increased risk often live in the same households,” study co-author Thomas M. Selden told UPI.

“Insofar as we can reduce the prevalence of COVID-19 in our communities, we can reduce the extent to which policymakers have to choose between the economy and keeping the population safe,” said Selden, an economist with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic spread to the United States in March, states and cities across the country have instituted lockdown measures designed to limit the spread of the disease.

Many of these measures entailed closing schools and non-essential businesses, with only banks, grocery stores, pharmacies and other businesses deemed to provide vital services allowed to stay open.

For this study, Selden and his colleagues analyzed data on the U.S. workforce to examine how many people were in essential jobs, how often they were able to work at home, their risk for severe COVID-19 and the potential health risks for their household members.

Of the more than 157 million workers across the country, 72% are in jobs deemed essential — based on U.S. Department of Homeland Security criteria — and more than three-fourths of all essential workers are unable to work at home, Selden said.

Essential workers include those in the medical and healthcare, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics and energy, water and wastewater industries, as well as those in law enforcement and public works, the DHS criteria stipulates.

The study notes that up to 60% of these workers have underlying health issues, placing them at increased risk for severe COVID-19 if they get infected, as defined by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Those with diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and chronic respiratory conditions like asthma are considered to be at high risk for serious illness, the CDC says.

Based on these findings, between roughly 57 million and 74 million adults working in on-site essential jobs — and their families — are at increased risk for serious illness, Selden and his colleagues estimated.

“Policymakers face important decisions about how to balance the economic benefits of keeping workers employed and the public health benefits of protecting those with increased risk of severe COVID-19,” Selden said.

“These issues arise in the context of decisions to close segments of the economy and decisions about how to distribute vaccines, which will initially be available only with limited supply, [and] become all the more difficult when the prevalence of infection rises in parts of the country,” he said.



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

Study: Hydroxychloroquine no better than placebo for hospitalized COVID-19 patients

Published

on

Nov. 9 (UPI) — COVID-19 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine showed no signs of significant improvement in “clinical status” compared with those given a placebo, a study published Monday by JAMA found.

Patients given a five-day course of the drug were scored as “category six” based on the World Health Organization’s seven-category COVID Ordinal Outcomes Scale, the same as those given a placebo, the researchers said.

Also, 28 days after they started treatment, 10.4% of those treated with hydroxychloroquine died, just slightly lower than the 10.6% fatality rate in the placebo group.

“The results show that hydroxychloroquine did not help patients recover from COVID-19,” study co-author Dr. Wesley H. Self told UPI.

“In the study, patients treated with hydroxychloroquine and those treated with a placebo had nearly identical outcomes, [so] I do not foresee any role for hydroxychloroquine in acutely ill patients hospitalized with COVID-19,” said Self, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Hydroxychloroquine is an immunosuppressive and anti-parasitic drug that is used to treat malaria.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, it was touted by President Donald Trump and others as a potential treatment for the virus, despite the lack of any scientific data supporting its use.

Given its effectiveness helping those sickened with malaria — a mosquito-borne infection — to recover, “there was a strong rationale for why hydroxychloroquine may have been beneficial for patients with COVID-19,” according to Self.

However, in July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned against the drug’s use in the treatment of those infected with the new coronavirus, due to potentially serious heart-related side effects.

For this study, Self and his colleagues treated 433 COVID-19 patients at 34 hospitals across the United States with either the drug or a placebo for a period of five days.

Patients assigned to the hydroxychloroquine group received 400 milligrams of the drug in pill form twice a day for the first two doses and then 200 mg. in pill form twice a day for the next eight doses, for a total of 10 doses over the five days.

All of the patients were then assessed based on the WHO’s COVID Ordinal Outcomes Scale, which categorizes those infected according to disease severity.

Most of the patients in both the hydroxycholorquine group and the placebo group were in “category six,” meaning they were hospitalized and receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or invasive mechanical ventilation to maintain their breathing, the researchers said.

“Our results, especially when combined from other studies conducted in the United Kingdom and Brazil, are good evidence that hydroxychloroquine does not provide benefit for patients hospitalized with COVID-19,” Self said.



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending