ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Winter Is Tough on Feet
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Fractures in Older Adults Up Death Risk
CANCER
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
CAREGIVING
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
DIABETES
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
Go Healthy, Not Hungry for Holiday Eating
Successful Weight Loss Shows Unique Brain Patterns
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Chemical in Plastics May Cause Fertility Problems
Disinfectants Can Boost Bacteria's Resistance to Treatment
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
EYE CARE, VISION
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
FITNESS
Run for Your Life
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Play Creatively as a Kid, Be a Healthier Adult
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Irregular Heartbeat Tied to Alzheimer's Disease
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
SENIORS
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
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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