A new study published Tuesday in the American Journal of Epidemiology indicates that women who experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) may be more likely to develop hypertension later in life.
PMS symptoms include mood swings, lethargy, food cravings and breast tenderness. The researchers found women who reported significant PMS symptoms were as much as 40% more likely to develop hypertension 20 years later than those who did not.
About 8 to 15% of women report clinically significant symptoms of PMS. Women in the PMS group were much more likely to develop hypertension before age 40. Women in this age group with premenstrual syndrome were three times more likely to develop high blood pressure.
This connection may be due to the dysfunction of the renin- an enzyme that participates in the body's renin-angiotensin aldosterone system - which alters normal sodium balance, blood volume and blood flow through the arteries. The study finds obesity may impede this hormonal system's function, and it has also been linked to PMS.