The Breastfeeding is not only beneficial for babies, but there is growing evidence that it may also reduce the risk of stroke in postmenopausal women who reported having breastfed at least one child, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Stroke is the fourth cause of death among women 65 and older, and is the third leading cause of death among Hispanic and black women aged 65 or older, according to the study.
“Some studies have reported that breastfeeding can reduce rates of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and risk of developing type 2 diabetes in mothers. The recent findings point to the benefits of breastfeeding over heart disease and other factors. Specific cardiovascular risk “said Lisette T. Jacobson, Ph.D., MPA, MA, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the department of preventive medicine and public health at the University of Kansas-Wichita School of Medicine.
The researchers analyzed data from 80,191 participants in the observational study Women’s Health Initiative, a significant national study underway that has tracked the medical events and health habits of postmenopausal women recruited between 1993 and 1998.
All the women in this analysis had had one or more children, and 58 percent reported having breastfed at some time. Among these women, 51 percent breastfed for one-six months, 22 percent for seven-12 months and 27 percent for 13 or more months. At the time of recruitment, the average age was 63.7 years and the follow-up period was 12.6 years.
Breastfeeding was associated with a lower risk of stroke in postmenopausal women who reported breastfeeding at least one child.
Reduces the risk by 23 percent
After adjusting risk factors for non-modifiable stroke (such as age and family history), the researchers found that the risk of stroke among women who breastfed their babies was, on average:
23 percent lower in all women.
48 percent lower in black women.
32 percent lower in Hispanic women.
21 percent lower in white women.
19 percent lower in women who had breastfed for up to six months.
A longer duration of breastfeeding was associated with a higher risk reduction.The association between breastfeeding and the lower risk of stroke was stronger in women who breastfed for more than six months and black women.
“Breastfeeding is just one of many factors that could protect against stroke, others include proper exercise, choosing healthy foods, not smoking, and seeking treatment if necessary to maintain blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. in the normal range, “Jacobson said.
It is not the first time that breastfeeding is associated with cardiovascular health. A previous study of 300 thousand women girls also concluded that women who breastfeed would have less risk of heart attacks and strokes.