ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Know Your Asthma Triggers
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
Breast-feeding Might Shield Women From Rheumatoid Arthritis
Winter Is Tough on Feet
CANCER
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
CAREGIVING
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
DIABETES
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
The High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Debate
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Warmer-Than-Average Temperatures Raise Migraine Risk
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Air Pollution May Cause Appendicitis: Study Reveals
EYE CARE, VISION
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
FITNESS
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
Fliers Can Keep Blood Clots at Bay
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Can You Talk Your Way to Happy?
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Deployment Takes Toll on Army Wives
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Treat Kids to a Safe Halloween
Quick Orthopedic Repair Can Save Young Shoulders
MEN'S HEALTH
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
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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