Is there a link between antibiotic use and cardiovascular disease?

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Women who take antibiotics across a long period of time are at an increased risk of stroke or heart attack, according to new research assessing almost 36,500 women.

The study, published recently in the European Heart Journal, reported that women aged 60 or older who took antibiotics for 2 months or more had the greatest risk of cardiovascular disease, but long-term antibiotic use was also associated with increased risk in middle age (40–59 years old).

The researchers studied 36,429 women taking part in the Nurse’s Health Study. Although the study has been running since 1976, the research in question only took data from 2004–2012. In 2004 women aged 60 or above were asked about the use of antibiotic throughout their life – when they were young (20–39), middle-aged (40–59) or older (60+). The team then categorized participants into four groups: those who had never taken antibiotics, those who had taken them for periods of >15 days, those who had taken them for between 15 days and 2 months and those who had taken them for 2 months or longer.

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