Severe PMS (premenstrual syndrome) has been linked with high blood pressure, in a recent study published on November 24 in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst reviewed medical data, which had been collected between 1991 and 2005, as part of the Nurses Health Study II.
The analysis included 1,257 women with prominent premenstrual symptoms, such as breast tenderness, fatigue, mood swings, insomnia, emotional stress and unbearable physical pain. It also surveyed 2,463 women who had experienced fewer such manifestations.
The age of the participants had been between 25 and 42 at the beginning of the trial, and follow-up studies had been conducted once every 2 years, for a period verging from 6 to 20 years.
At every stage, the patient had been asked about whether they had been diagnosed with high blood pressure ever since the last check-up.
It was discovered that women who had experienced clinically noteworthy PMS symptoms were the most susceptible of developing hypertension, which has been linked with kidney damage, stroke and heart disease.
Overall, their likelihood of being affected by this chronic medical condition across a period of 20 years was approximately 40% greater than that encountered among those who had more bearable symptoms.
This connection was especially detectable among female subjects who were in their 20’s and 30’s. Among this age category, those who had disabling PMS were approximately 3 times as likely to be affected by high blood pressure, in comparison with their counterparts who didn’t display such issues during their menstrual cycle.
While an exact cause for this obvious link between PMS and hypertension wasn’t established with certainty, study authors believe it may be linked with the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, whose function is to ensure that fluids are secreted, absorbed and circulated properly.
This affects the way blood flows through veins and arteries, while promoting sodium absorption and the elimination of potassium.
Another possible factor is obesity, which also disrupts the hormonal balance, resulting in distressing symptoms ahead of menstruation.
Moreover, experts have also discovered that a high intake of thiamin (vitamin B1) and riboflavin (vitamin B2) can result in lowering the risk of suffering from PMS by up to a third.
In addition, among women who develop PMS despite having diets rich in vitamin B, there is a greatly diminished probability of being affected by high blood pressure.
Based on these findings, researchers now warn women who are affected by severe PMS, which disrupts their daily routines, to consult their physician, in order to take a cardiovascular screening test.
Moreover, they suggest that consuming more foods containing vitamin B could help alleviate PMS symptoms, while at the same time curbing the risk of experiencing hypertension.
According to Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of Women’s Heart Health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, there is an increased incidence of hypertension among young women, but less than half of these patients actually take medication to keep their blood pressure in check.
Left untreated, the disorder can be extremely life-threatening, so it’s essential to promptly identify any changes which might signal it.
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