Physicians are often quick to chalk up miscarriage to chromosome abnormalities and many are reluctant to embrace the viewpoint of reproductive immunologists who believe that women who experience pregnancy loss often have various autoimmune or vascular disorders which impede blood flow to the uterus. A trio of factors: genetic, autoimmune and nutritional - or a combination of all three! - can trigger blood clotting disorders which may be at the root of both miscarriages and cardiovascular events such as myocardial or cerebral infarction.
An innovative study - presented at the annual scientific sessions of the American Heart Association, 2012 - highlights how reproductive immunologists may be right on target with their assertion that subtle vascular factor underlie many cases of pregnancy loss. This study highlights how these subtle vascular risk factors - if untended - may give rise to a significantly increased risk for vascular disease even when women are relatively young.
Researchers tracked the health histories of more than one million pregnant Danish women between 1977 and 2008 and discovered that women with a history of stillbirth or recurrent miscarriages had significantly increased risks for three different types of vascular disorders within 15 years after a pregnancy loss.
Women with a history of just one stillbirth or four or more miscarriages had at least a twofold increase in the risk of experiencing an acute myocardial infarct, a cerebral infarct or of developing renovascular hypertension. Dr. Mattis F. Ranthe of the Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen, stated that:
"This is the largest-ever study on the occurrence of atherosclerotic disease after pregnancy loss. This study, taken together with previous studies, implies a possible common underlying pathology linking pregnancy losses and atherosclerosis,"
This study found that as the number of miscarriages increased so did the incidence of various vascular diseases; having just one miscarriage increased the risk of various vascular diseases by 11-15%, and each additional miscarriage triggered a further increase in risk which jumped by 10-20% with each additional loss.
Surprisingly, increased risks for cardiovascular events were greater in younger women who perhaps least expect to experience vascular diseases. If you have experienced multiple miscarriages or a still birth, make sure that you seek preventative care to protect your cardiovascular system; be sure to seek out a physician who is conversant with the link between recurrent loss and vascular disease to get the help that you deserve.
If you have received anti-coagulant therapies to have a successful pregnancy, do ask your physician whether you should continue to receive some kind of anticoagulant vascular care - such as baby aspirin and fish oil - to prevent excessive blood clotting and protect your cardiovascular system *after* you have had your baby.
This article is for purely informational purposes and is not intended to diagnose or substitute for the advice for a suitably qualified physician or dietitian.
Reference: Pregnancy Loss Boosts Multiple Atherosclerotic Risks. Bruce Jancin, Ob.Gyn News Digital Network. 11/15/12
AT THE ANNUAL SCIENTIFIC SESSIONS OF THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION