Prolonged breastfeeding found to reduce a woman’s risk of hypertension after menopause

The more women breastfeed their children, the more they’re protected from the dangers of hypertension after menopause. This was proven in a recent study published in the American Journal of Hypertension.

  • The study wanted to find out if breastfeeding and hypertension are related.  It was conducted to check if breastfeeding influenced maternal hypertension and if obesity or insulin sensitivity affected the relationship between breastfeeding and hypertension in postmenopausal women.
  • Researchers gathered data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) from 2010 to 2011. A total of 3,119 non-smoking postmenopausal women aged 50 and above were selected.
  • The team conducted logistic regression analyses to study the link between breastfeeding and hypertension, and mediation analyses to see if obesity and insulin sensitivity had an effect on the link between breastfeeding and hypertension.
  • Breastfeeding ‘resets’ maternal metabolism (e.g., fat accumulation and insulin resistance); thus, lowering the risk of obesity-related diseases.
  • Susceptibility to hypertension was not seen in obese women who breastfed their children. The same result cropped up in insulin-resistant women who breastfed their children.
  • Women who breastfed their children for the longest time in the study (96 to 324 months) showed a 45 percent lower risk of hypertension.
  • Oxytocin, the love hormone released during childbirth, lactation, and reproduction during breastfeeding, may reduce the occurrence of diseases.
  • Women who breastfed their children the most showed a 51 percent decrease in susceptibility to hypertension.

The researchers posited that breastfeeding is recommended for women who want to stay healthy once they reach menopausal age.

Journal Reference:

Park, S., Choi, NK. BREASTFEEDING AND MATERNAL HYPERTENSION. American Journal of Hypertension. 2018 Jan 30. DOI: 10.1093/ajh/hpx219

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