ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
New Clues to How Fish Oils Help Arthritis Patients
CANCER
Seaweed May Help Treat Lymphoma
Immune Therapy May Aid Kids With Neuroblastoma
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
CAREGIVING
Critically Ill Patients Lack Vitamin D
Bariatric Surgery Centers Don't Deliver Better Outcomes
Flu Strikes a Milder Blow This Season
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Health Tip: After Liposuction
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Holistic Dentistry-My View
DIABETES
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
DIET, NUTRITION
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Eating Free Range
Pesticides and How to Affordably Eat Organic or Reduce Pesticide Consumption
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Old-Growth Forests Dying Off in U.S. West
Freckles, Moles May Indicate Risk for Eye Cancer
Pesticides Linked to Parkinson's
EYE CARE, VISION
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
FITNESS
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Football Can Shrink Players
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
Hoping for a Happy Family Holiday? Here's How
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Optimism May Boost Immune System
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
SENIORS
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
Add your Article

Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- Estrogen has long been implicated as being heart protective in premenopausal women, and a new study suggests that having just the right amount of estrogen might be helpful for men as well.

The study, in the May 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that men with heart failure who had the lowest levels of estrogen had about four times the risk of dying as men with average levels and that men with the highest levels of estrogen had more than twice the risk of dying as men with average levels of the hormone.

"Among men with chronic heart failure and reduced left-ventricular ejection fraction, high and low concentrations of estradiol [estrogen] compared with the middle quintile of estradiol are related to an increased mortality," the researchers wrote.

However, Dr. Stephen Siegel, a cardiologist at the New York University Langone Medical Center, said that though the study "raises certain issues on how hormones may be affected or may affect cardiac function and mortality, it doesn't necessarily link cause and effect."

Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle weakens and can't pump blood as efficiently to the rest of the body as it should. As many as 5 million people in the United States currently have heart failure, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Each year, about 300,000 Americans die as a result of heart failure, the institute reports.

The study, which was done in Poland, included 501 men with an average age of 58 years. All of the men had heart failure and a left ventricular ejection fraction of 28 percent. Ejection fraction is a measure of how well the heart is pumping, and the left ventricle is the heart's main pumping chamber. A normal left ventricular ejection fraction would be between 55 percent and 70 percent, according to the American Heart Association.

During the three-year follow-up period, 171 of the men died. When the researchers separated the men into groups based on their estrogen levels, they found that those with the lowest and highest levels of estrogen were more likely to have died.

The group with the lowest estrogen levels had a 44.6 percent survival rate, and those with the second-lowest scores had a 65.8 percent survival rate. The middle group had the highest survival rate, at 82.4 percent. The fourth group, which had elevated estrogen levels, had a 79 percent survival rate, and the group with the highest estrogen levels had a 63.6 percent survival rate.

"This is an interesting observation," said Dr. David Haines, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich. "But, it seems just as likely that it could be an epidemiological phenomenon."

Haines said that, based on the data from the study, he would not recommend supplementing heart failure patients with low estrogen, nor would he use medication to block the effects of estrogen on men with high levels.

"For something to be deadly at both ends is unlikely," said Dr. Stuart Katz, director of the heart failure program at the New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City. "Whenever you see this type of U-shaped relationship, it means there has to be two different explanations for what you've seen."

He said it's possible that estrogen may be a marker for worsening heart disease, but said it's probably not a more useful marker than those currently used. "I doubt this study will change what clinicians do," said Katz.

The three heart specialists agreed that though the study's observations raise interesting questions, much more research needs to be done before any changes in clinical practice might occur.

More information

Learn more about heart failure at HeartFailure.org.



SOURCES: Stephen Siegel, M.D., cardiologist, New York University Langone Medical Center, and clinical assistant professor, New York University School of Medicine, New York City; David Haines, M.D., chairman, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Mich.; Stuart Katz, M.D., professor, medicine, Division of Cardiology, New York University School of Medicine, and director, Heart Failure Program, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City; May 13, 2009, Journal of the American Medical Association

Last Updated: May 12, 2009

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