At the University of Georgia, a team of researchers has found that the age at which a woman begins menstruation determines whether she’ll have high blood pressure diagnosed later in her life or not.
Specifically, early onset of menstruation greatly increases the risk of hypertension in her late adulthood, according to the researchers, regardless of her lifestyle, behaviors, social economic factors, and control of other metabolic measures.
The study shed light on how chronic diseases were being caused later in life to women depending on the ages of their menopause and menarche.
Study author and student of MBBS at the UGA’s College of Public Health, Luqi Shen said: “Some studies suggested that early menarche increased the risk of hypertension in late adulthood, while other studies indicated that late onset of menarche was associated with hypertension in late adulthood.”
The researchers observed the data of 7,893 women that included information about their biological and other lifestyle factors that could result in hypertension.
Shen says that this link can be explained by the time taken by our bodies to develop. A premature or delay in the development of a body system can, in turn, affect the other.
Shen said: “Women with early menarche may have less than optimal developed cardiovascular system, therefore, had higher risk for adverse outcomes, such as hypertension in late adulthood. So, the association of early menarche with hypertension is as expected in this population.”
Shen further said: “Interestingly, this association is entirely explained by body mass index. This suggests that body weight management around menopausal stage is critical in blood pressure management for women at menopausal age, and we believe this finding is not specific to Chinese women and may be applicable to women in all countries.”
The study explains how long-term health is also determined by early life experiences. However, Shen does agree that access to a healthier environment and better physical care can improve one’s health and can also prevent chronic diseases.