Women who experience more severe symptoms of premenstrual syndrome – commonly referred to as PMS – may have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure later on in life, a new study suggests.
Over the period of twenty years, women who had PMS symptoms at the beginning of the study had a forty percent higher risk of developing high blood pressure, compared with women who experienced very few premenstrual syndrome symptoms, the researchers found.
Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, author of the study and an epidemiologist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said that this is the first long-term study conducted on a larger scale that linked PMS to the risk of chronic health problems in the future.
In the study – published November 24 in the American Journal of Epidemiology – the researchers analysed the relationship between PMS and high blood pressure risk in almost 2,500 women who had few premenstrual syndrome symptoms, and about 1,250 who had clinically significant PMS.
Researchers followed the women – who were twenty-five to forty years of age at the beginning to the study – for six to twenty years. At the beginning of the study, and then every two years, the women had to report whether they had received a high blood pressure diagnosis from their doctors.
The findings show that the relationship between PMS and high blood pressure was stronger among women younger than forty. These women were also three times more likely to have high blood pressure, as opposed to women in the same age group who had almost no premenstrual symptoms.
Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of Women’s Heart Health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said that hypertension seems to be more, and more common in younger women. According to Dr. Steinbaum, this may also affect a woman’s cardiovascular risk.
The researchers also found that the women with PMS who consumed a lot of riboflavin and thiamine (which are B vitamins), had a lower risk of developing high blood pressure in the future, compared with women who consumed low amounts of riboflavin and thiamine.
A previous research also suggests that women who consume high amounts of riboflavin and thiamine are twenty-five to thirty-five percent less likely to develop premenstrual syndrome. Researchers say that improving vitamin B intake in women with PMS may lower the risk of hypertension and reduce the severity of premenstrual syndrome symptoms.
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