February is American Heart Month so it is only appropriate to highlight cardiovascular health in one way or another.
At some point or another, you’ve heard about Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and all that it can cause: cervical cancer, anorectal cancer, oral cancer, and the list goes on.
As if that wasn’t enough to worry about, researchers in South Korea may have found a link between HPV and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in women. They studied a group of 63,411 women who were an average of 40 years old. They took into account how much alcohol they drank, whether or not they smoked, their education level, how active they were, and their family and medical history of CVD or cancer.
7.6 percent of the women they studied were found to have high-risk HPV. After adjusting for other variables including c-reactive protein levels, they found that there was a “significant relationship between HPV and CVD.” It was further discovered that women with high-risk HPV and without obesity had a higher risk for cardiovascular disease (i.e. strokes, heart attacks) when compared to women without high-risk HPV. The risk was even more with women who were both obese and had high-risk HPV.
The findings of this study “suggest that high-risk HPV might affect CVD risk when accompanied by obesity or [metabolic syndrome].” The researchers only looked at HPV in women, therefore more research needs to be done to determine if there is a similar correlation between HPV and CVD in men.
If you haven’t been vaccinated for HPV, please discuss with your provider to determine if this vaccination is right for you.
Jeremiah Robinson is a licensed and certified Physician Assistant at T. Douglas Gurley MD in Atlanta, GA.