A large study of young women in South Korea brings new findings. It is not yet clear whether the HPV vaccine, which works against cancer, also protects against cardiovascular risks.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection not only increases the risk of cancer, but also increases the risk of death from cardiovascular disease in women. That's the conclusion of a large study in South Korea, published Wednesday in the medical journal “European Heart Journal.” Accordingly, women with high-risk HPV are four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
80 percent of women and men will be infected with HPV in their lifetime. High-risk strains primarily try to cause cervical cancer. However, HPV can lead to genital, genital, anal, and penile cancer, or mouth and throat cancer, and irritating genital warts. Previous research has found that HPV may contribute to the formation of dangerous plaques in the arteries. Now, for the first time, a study shows a link between high-risk HPV infection and deaths from cardiovascular disease.
The scientific study from Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul included 163,250 young or middle-aged Korean women who did not have cardiovascular disease at the start of the study. They performed a variety of screening tests, including screening for 13 high-risk HPV strains. For an average of eight and a half years, the women returned for a health checkup every one to two years.
As a group of relatively young, healthy women, the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease was generally low. But when other factors known to increase heart disease risk (smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes) were taken into account, women with high-risk HPV had a 3.91 times greater risk of developing heart disease-clogged arteries. Compared to women without high-risk HPV infection, the risk of dying from heart disease was 3.74 times higher and the risk of dying from stroke was 5.86 times higher. If you are obese at the same time, the risks are even higher.
“We know that inflammation plays an important role in the development and progression of cardiovascular diseases, and that viral infections are potential triggers of inflammation,” explained Hae Suk Cheong, one of the study leaders. The virus is also starting to show up in the bloodstream. This study underscores the importance of comprehensive care for high-risk HPV patients. Physicians should monitor their cardiovascular health, especially in patients with obesity or other risk factors.
According to the researchers, more research is needed to determine whether high-risk HPV infection has similar effects in men and to determine whether the HPV vaccine can prevent deaths from heart disease. Then, in addition to fighting cancer, increasing HPV vaccination rates may also be an important strategy for reducing long-term cardiovascular risks. HPV vaccination is free for girls and boys in Austria from their 9th to 21st birthday. Two doses are given for this age group. Performance is best between the ages of nine and twelve.