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Heart Health

Constipation: A connection to cardiovascular disease?

December 1, 2021

New research hints at a novel possible link between these two common conditions.

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Does chronic constipation make people more prone to heart problems? Some studies suggest the answer is yes, but the evidence is far from clear. As is true for all observational study findings, a correlation between two conditions doesn’t mean that one causes the other.

"Another problem is that constipation can be defined in many ways, so results from different researchers vary," says Dr. Kyle Staller, a gastroenterologist with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. Nearly everyone gets "backed up" once in a while, but chronic constipation is different (see "What is chronic constipation?"). In fact, other studies, including one Dr. Staller coauthored, found no association between constipation and heart-related conditions.

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