LivingBreastfeeding reduces the risk of stroke in the mother

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of stroke in the mother

Not only is breastfeeding beneficial for babies, but there is growing evidence that it may also reduce the risk of stroke in postmenopausal women who report having breastfed at least one child, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death among women 65 and older, and the third leading cause of death among Hispanic and black women 65 and older, according to the study.

“Some studies have reported that breastfeeding can reduce the rates of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in mothers. Recent findings point to the benefits of breastfeeding on heart disease and other risk 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 Women’s Health Initiative observational study, a large ongoing national study that has tracked the medical events and health habits of postmenopausal women recruited between 1993 and 1998.

All of the women in this analysis had had one or more children and 58 percent reported having ever breastfed . Among these women, 51 percent breastfed for one to six months, 22 percent for seven to 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 risk by 23 percent

After adjusting for non-modifiable stroke risk factors (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, and
  • 19 percent lower in women who had breastfed for up to six months. Longer duration of breastfeeding was associated with a greater reduction in risk.
The association between breastfeeding and lower risk of stroke was strongest in women who breastfed for more than six months and for black women.

“Breastfeeding is just one of many factors that could protect against stroke. Others include getting adequate 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 has been associated with cardiovascular health. A previous study carried out with 300,000 young women also concluded that women who breastfeed would have a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes.

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