Certain heart fat highers risk of heart disease in postmenopausal women: Study

Washington D.C. (USA), Jan. 30 : A recent study reveals that volume of a certain type of fat can significantly higher the risks of a heart disease in postmenopausal women.

The study reveals that a previously unknown menopause-specific indicator of heart disease risk, pointed towards the strategies to reduce this risk and a target for future studies on how hormone replacement therapy can be really crucial in improving the cardiovascular health.

The study has been published in Journal of the American Heart Association. "For the first time, we've pinpointed the type of heart fat, linked it to a risk factor for heart disease and shown that menopausal status and estrogen levels are critical modifying factors of its associated risk in women," said lead author Samar R.

El Khoudary, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor in Pitt Public Health's Department of Epidemiology. There are two types of fat that surrounds our heart. Epicardial Fat, which directly covers the heart tissue, is known as the energy source for the heart. Then, Procardial fat, which is in the front part of our body and no known heart protective functions have yet been founded of this part.

El Khoudary and her team evaluated the data which included blood samples and CT scan of hearts, including 478 women from Pittsburgh and Chicago.

The women in this study were in different stages of menopause, the average age being 51 years old and no one was not on hormonal displacement therapy.

In a previous study, the teams showed a large amount of paracardial fat, but not epicardial fat, after menopause is explained by the decline of sex hormone estradiol.

In the new study, the researchers found out that parcardial fat is not specified to menopause, but can also be seen also in postmenopausal women and women who have lower levels of estradiol.

The paracardial fat is associated with a greater risk of coronary artery calcification, which is an early sign of a heart disease.

In all the women studied, the paracardial fat volume went from 25th percentile to the 75th percentile, which is associated with a 160 percent higher risk of coronary artery calcification.

While there was a 45 percent increase in the extent of coronary artery calcification in women experiencing post-menopause period comparing to the women experiencing pre-menopause period.

Clearly, epicardial and paracardial fat are distinct types of heart fat that are found to be greater in postmenopausal women for different reasons with different effects on heart disease risk--and thus should be evaluated separately when searching for ways to help women avoid heart disease," said El Khoudary.

Dieting and bariatric surgery can reduce the higher volume of heart fat. El Khoudary is now planning a study to evaluate hormone replacement therapy on heart fat accumulation, paying particular attention to the types of heart fat.

Source: ANI