Women should be careful when using antibiotics
Antibiotic intake brings different health risks. Researchers now found that women who have been taking antibiotics for more than two months are at increased risk of developing a heart attack or stroke.
A recent study by Tulane University in New Orleans found that women who have been taking antibiotics for more than two months are at a much greater risk of heart attack and strokes. The results of the study were published in the English newspaper "European Heart Journal".
Antibiotics can harm beneficial bacteria in the intestine
Long-term use of antibiotics seems to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease because useful bacteria that colonize our colon are wiped out. In women over the age of 60, the risk is most pronounced. The increased risk in older women was 32 per cent, compared with women who did not take antibiotics during the eight-year study period, researchers said.
Antibiotics alter the balance in our stomach
The use of antibiotics is the most critical factor in the change in the balance of microorganisms in the gut, according to the research team. Previous studies have already shown a correlation between changes in the microbiotic gut environment and inflammation and constriction of blood vessels, strokes and heart disease. For the study, 36,500 women were medically supervised for almost eight years. In this period, 1.056 women developed cardiovascular disease. However, the absolute risk of problems remained low, explains the researchers.
Older women had the greatest risk
There were six heart attacks or strokes per 1,000 women in over 60s. By contrast, when women did not take antibiotics, the risk was three hearts or strokes per 1,000 women. This increase also continued after controlling and considering other health risks or factors that could affect the increase. Middle-aged women generally had a lower but still significantly higher risk (around 28 per cent). No effects were observed in women aged 39 years or younger. As women grow older during the study period, they often needed more antibiotics and sometimes used them for a long time, which suggests that the cumulative effect may be the cause of a stronger bond between antibiotics and cardiovascular disease in old age, the authors of the study .
Use of antibiotics only when absolutely necessary
Antibiotics change the balance of the intestinal ecosystem, destroy useful bacteria and, for example, increase the spread of viruses and infectious fungal organisms such as Candida. Women in the study commonly used antibiotics for pulmonary infections, urinary tract infections, and dental problems. The study suggests that antibiotics should be used only when necessary. Given potentially cumulative side effects, the use of antibiotics is better, the shorter the intake is, the research team continues. However, it must still be ensured that the entry period is sufficient to effectively kill the target pathogens, because otherwise the development of resistance appears. (How)