Does Breastfeeding Prevent Heart Disease? Things to Know

breastfeeding prevent heart disease

Does breastfeeding prevent heart disease and provide heart benefits?

Does breastfeeding prevent heart disease? According to a new study, breastfeeding not only benefits the infant but also the mother. The study was presented at the meeting of the European Society of Endocrinology in Lyon, France, and is certainly good news for mothers around the world who breastfeed. Plus, the study has opened a new realm of research about breastfeeding benefits and cardiovascular disease.

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Does Breastfeeding Prevent Heart Disease?

The researchers adjusted patient data that can affect heart health, such as:

The study revealed that women who breastfed their children had markedly lower levels of heart disease and heart disease risk factors. The study found that the women who breastfed the longest had the greatest reduction in heart disease and risk factors. The findings are certainly good news for mothers who want to breastfeed their children.

The next step in assessing the findings is to study the underlying causes that can create such a wonderful outcome. The study’s author, Irene Lambrinoudaki, is a professor at the University of Athens in Greece. She states that “If we can show causality for the protective effect, women will have one more reason to nurse their infants beyond the already documented benefits of breastfeeding for short and long-term health of both them and their children.”

The positive health benefits of breastfeeding seem to be related to the higher levels of the hormone prolactin that is present in breastfeeding mothers. The research continues, and researchers are studying the molecular processes of prolactin and how it affects blood sugar. The research could reveal significant information that would help to prevent cardiovascular disease in everyone.

Breastfeeding Benefits

There are lots of breastfeeding benefits that we already now about, such as:

  • Reduces the risk of post-partum depression.
  • Assists in maintaining healthy body weight.
  • Helps to regulate blood sugar.
  • Reduces the risk of certain cancers in women.
  • The hormone prolactin reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin, which promotes a strong sense of love and bonding between mother and child. Oxytocin also assists the uterus in the process of involution, which is returning the uterus to its normal size, and oxytocin also helps to reduce post-partum bleeding.
  • Reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer later in life.
  • Reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease.
  • Provides a unique and wonderful emotional fulfillment in the mother.

Cardiovascular Disease

It is important to study more on the benefits of breastfeeding and cardiovascular disease, as millions of people around the world suffer from heart issues. There are several types of health problems that contribute to cardiovascular disease:

  • Coronary artery disease (CAD) – The Centers for Disease Control state that coronary artery disease is the leading cause of heart attacks. Arteriosclerosis is when plaque builds up in artery walls, narrowing the artery and inhibiting the flow of blood to the heart. Without blood and oxygen, the heart muscle cells die.
  • A heart attack occurs when blood clots block blood flow to the heart. Interrupted blood flow can cause heart damage and weaken heart muscles.
  • A stroke occurs when blood or oxygen is blocked in the arteries that go to the brain. It is the #4 cause of death in the U.S. and is the primary cause of adult disability. The risk factors for stroke include diabetes, obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise, fats in the blood, depression, stress, alcohol.
  • Hypertension is when your heart has to work harder to pump blood through your body. It is caused by a narrowing of the arteries and increases your risk for heart attack or stroke.
  • Arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat that is either too fast or too slow. It can contribute to strokes, heart attacks or sudden cardiac arrest.

Click here to see if breastfeeding can help prevent diabetes.

Does breastfeeding prevent heart disease? Yes, it does. And further research may disclose other findings that may help to prevent heart disease in the future.

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