Alert
Close

Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'

HIGHLIGHTS

Open
America's Winter Escapes Sweepstakes
Introducing RealPad by AARP
You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad

AUTO BUYING PROGRAM

AARP Auto Buying Program

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

share your thoughts

What does the health care law mean to you? Your story is important. We read and learn from every story and it helps us in our educational efforts. We may even use your comments (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

Health Discovery

Health Discovery: Birth Control Pills Linked to Longer Life

Study followed 46,000 women for 40 years

birth control pills

— Photo by Tina Sbrigato/iStockphoto

Women who took birth control pills at some point in their lives can expect to live longer, according to a 39-year study that shows those on the pill were less likely to die from heart disease, cancer or other ailments.

Published online March 11 in the British Medical Journal, the research began in 1968 and tracked 46,000 women—comparing death and disease rates between those who had taken the pills with those who never took them. Overall, use of oral contraceptives was linked to a 12 percent lower risk of dying from all diseases, along with a 15 percent reduction in death from cancer and a 25 percent decrease in death from heart attacks.

These findings are especially encouraging for women who took birth control pills during the 1960s and 1970s. “Many women, especially those who used the first generation of oral contraceptives many years ago, are likely to be reassured by our results,” note the researchers from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. “However, our findings might not reflect the experience of women using oral contraceptives today.”

That’s because the overall death risk was slightly higher among younger women who were recently on the pill, though the risk disappeared after about 10 years.

“This study indicates that concerns about heart attacks from oral contraceptives are not justified,” says Daniel R. Mishell, M.D. professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California and editor of the medical journal Contraception, who was not involved in the study but has been following its progress for years. “Birth control pills do not accelerate atherosclerosis,” he notes.

David Plourd, M.D., an obstetrician at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego and another expert in contraception, says: “The findings in this study are consistent with my clinical impression that the birth control pill is a multivitamin for women that requires a prescription. Only one in 250 reproductive-aged women has a medical reason why they shouldn’t use it.”

Sid Kirchheimer writes about health and consumer issues.

 

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Medical
Resources

Symptom Checker

Enter your medical symptoms to find out possible causes and treatments. Read

Health Encyclopedia

Find the information you need about health conditions, symptoms and medical procedures. Read

Health Screenings and Vaccines

What screenings and shots do you need? Read

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Grandson (8-9) whispering to grandfather, close-up

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

AARP/Walgreens Wellness Bus Stops in Clarksdale, MS

Members can get exclusive points offers from Walgreens and Duane Reade.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points