Researchers have found that premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can be an early marker of future high blood pressure. Researchers found that women who reported moderate to high PMS had a 40 percent higher risk of developing future high blood pressure within a 20-year span compared to women with low PMS.
Epidemiologist, Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, Sc.D., said, “To my knowledge, this is the first large long-term study to suggest that PMS may be related to risk of chronic health conditions in later life.”
Researchers adjusted for known risk factors of high blood pressure, and the association between PMS and blood pressure still remained. The strongest results of hypertension were seen in those prior to 40 years of age, where women with PMS had a three-fold higher risk of developing hypertension compared to women without PMS.
PMS affects roughly eight to 15 percent of women and Bertone-Johnson suggests that factors can be modified in order to reduce the risk of future hypertension. The authors said, “Women with PMS should be screened for adverse changes in blood pressure and future risk of hypertension.”
The PMS-blood pressure relationship was examined in 1,257 women who developed clinically significant PMS and also looked at 2,463 age-matched control patients. PMS was evaluated with a modified Calendar of Premenstrual Experiences, which looks at symptoms.
In a sub-study, researchers looked at women who were newly diagnosed with hypertension and found women with PMS had a hazard ratio for hypertension 1:4 compared to women without PMS – this is an increased risk of 40 percent. It is important to note that women with high intakes of B vitamins – thiamine and riboflavin – did not have an increased risk of hypertension.
Bertone-Johnson and her team found that women with high intake of B vitamins had a 20 to 25 percent lower risk of experiencing PMS.
The findings were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.