It's estimated that about half of sexually active men and women have been infected with human papillomavirus (HPV). While certain strains of HPV have already been tied to cervical cancer, a new study suggests that HPV may be linked to heart disease as well.
Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers found that women who tested positive for HPV were between two and three times more likely to have a heart attack or suffer from a stroke, as compared to uninfected women. Because the research is preliminary, researchers caution that the association doesn't mean that HPV causes heart disease. Rather, the study suggests that the two conditions are linked. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 100 strains of HPV, and most people's immune systems successfully fight off the virus with no health issues.
However, researchers say that this new information could help prevent heart disease because doctors can better monitor the heart health of patients who have HPV. The study also suggests an added benefit of the HPV vaccines: heart disease prevention. Other studies have shown a possible link between HPV and throat cancer.
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Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.