Are you 40 and planning to go the family way? Get proper medical attention first as, according to researchers, women who delay their pregnancy until age 40 or older face a greater risk of stroke and heart attack than women who become pregnant at a younger age.
The finding is crucial at a time when more and more urban women across the world are delaying pregnancy owing to career choices.
“We already knew that older women were more likely than younger women to experience health problems during their pregnancy,” said lead researcher Adnan I Qureshi, director of the Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Institute in St Cloud, Minnesota.
“Now, we know that the consequences of that later pregnancy stretch years into the future,” Qureshi added.
To reach this conclusion, the team reviewed data from 72,221 women aged 50 to 79 enrolled in the US Women’s Health Initiative Study.
Of those, 3,306 women reported pregnancies at an advanced age and compared their rate of stroke, heart attack and cardiovascular death over the next 12 years.
Researchers found an increased risk of ischemic stroke (clot caused), hemorrhagic stroke (brain bleed), heart attack and death from all forms of cardiovascular disease in women who got pregnant at age 40 and older.
“Women with a late pregnancy need to be aware of their increased risk and take steps to improve their cardiovascular health,” Dureshi cautioned.
Doctors need to remain vigilant years later in monitoring these women’s risk factors through physical examination and perhaps more tests and earlier interventions to prevent stroke and other cardiovascular events, Qureshi added.
The research was presented at the American Stroke Association’s “International Stroke Conference 2016” in Los Angeles this week.