Older mothers face higher risks
Women who are at least 35 years old when they give birth are much more likely than younger mothers to experience a variety of major pregnancy complications, a recent study confirms.
Previous research has linked older mothers to problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes during pregnancy and a higher risk of death and severe complications for babies, but the current study offers fresh insight into the severe health issues faced by older mothers, said lead study author Sarka Lisonkova.
Compared with mothers aged 25 to 29, women aged 35 to 39 were 20 per cent more likely to have severe complications, and the odds more than quintupled for women 50 and older, researchers report in PLOS Medicine.
Women 35 and older were also eight times more likely to have amniotic fluid enter their bloodstream, a complication that can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction, the study found.
Mothers 40 and older were almost 16 times more likely to have kidney failure and almost three times more likely to have obstetric shock, when organs don't get enough blood and oxygen, the study found.
Walking may help your brain health
A moderate-intensity walking regimen may reduce symptoms of mild cognitive impairment that are linked to poor blood vessel health in the brain, a small study suggests.
Participants with vascular cognitive impairment, sometimes called vascular dementia, who walked three hours a week for six months had improved reaction times and other signs of improved brain function, the Canadian team reports in British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Vascular cognitive impairment refers to mildly impaired thinking or more advanced dementia that is due to the same kinds of blood vessel damage seen with heart disease elsewhere in the body.
It is the second most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer's disease.
"It is well established that regular aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular health and cerebrovascular health," the study's senior author Teresa Liu-Ambrose told Reuters Health.
"More specifically, it reduces risk of developing chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.
Avoid heart disease risk factors
Some people who avoid the risk factors for heart disease may be able to maintain the blood vessels of a healthy 29-year-old well into old age, a US study suggests.
Researchers examined data on 3,196 adults aged 50 and older to see how their odds of vascular ageing - reduced elasticity in blood vessels - were influenced by seven risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, high blood sugar, inactivity, poor diet, obesity and smoking.
Older adults who avoided at least six of these problems were 10 times more likely to have flexible, properly functioning blood vessels than their peers who avoided no more than one of these risk factors, the study found.
"Especially staying lean and avoiding diabetes seemed to be very important," said lead study author Teemu Niiranen of Boston University School of Medicine.