Infection with high-risk strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), especially among women with obesity or other cardiovascular risk factors, according to new research published in Circulation Research.
Researchers investigated the association between high-risk HPV infection and the development of CVD among 63,411 Korean women, aged 30 years or older, without cardiovascular disease, who were followed from 2011 to 2016.
The prevalence of high-risk HPV infection was 7.6 per cent. During 261,598.9 person-years of follow-up, a total of 1,122 cases of new-onset CVD were identified.
After adjusting for a range of factors such as body mass index, smoking, alcohol use, exercise, education level and family history of CVD, the authors found women with high-risk HPV were 22 per cent more likely than uninfected women to develop CVD. The association was stronger among individuals with obesity and those with metabolic syndrome.
“A better understanding of high-risk HPV as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and possible combined effects of high-risk HPV, obesity and metabolic syndrome in increasing cardiovascular disease risk may help improve preventive strategies and patient outcomes,” said Seungho Ryu, senior co-author of the study and professor at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, in Seoul, South Korea.