A study soon to be published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has found that women with cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body.-causing human papilloma virusA sexually transmitted virus that can cause genital warts and may also have a role in the development of various cancers. (HPVAn abbreviation for human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause genital warts and may also have a role in the development of various cancers.) are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
The research focused on the 20% of people who develop heart disease without any of the normal risk factors. The authors of the study write that HPV, one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the UK, may be a ‘non-traditional risk factor’ for cardiovascular disease. The study investigated history of heart disease, blood pressureThe pressure of blood within the arteries., BMI, cholesterolA substance present in many tissues and an important constituent of cell membranes although high concentrations of a certain type of cholesterol in the blood are unhealthy. and diabetesA disorder caused by insufficient or absent production of the hormone insulin by the pancreas, or because the tissues are resistant to the effects. amongst other medical, demographic and lifestyle information.
The implications of the study are that HPV vaccines could help to prevent heart disease and that doctors should monitor patients with cancer-associated HPV to prevent the risk of heart attacks and strokes.