Seoul National University professor Kang Dae-hee’s research team, following 70,000 people for 9 years
It has been pointed out that consistent blood pressure management can reduce the risk of breast cancer, the cancer with the highest incidence in women. This is because a large-scale follow-up study confirmed that elevated diastolic blood pressure (diastolic blood pressure) in middle-aged women may indicate the risk of breast cancer.
Professor Kang Dae-hee’s research group at the Department of Preventive Medicine of Seoul National University College of Medicine has published a study that confirmed the association between diastolic blood pressure and breast cancer in middle-aged women aged 40 and 69 years old.
The research team followed 73,031 middle-aged women (of which 858 were diagnosed with breast cancer, 1.17%) for an average of 9 years between 2004 and 2013. As a result, when diastolic blood pressure was between between 85 and 89 mmHg, the risk of developing breast cancer was on average 1.40 times higher than normal (less than 85 mmHg).
Specifically, when risk was analyzed before and after menopause (menopause), the risk of developing breast cancer increased 1.73-fold in women with high diastolic blood pressure after menopause. On the other hand, we didn’t find the same level of risk in women before sex. In the case of systolic blood pressure (systolic blood pressure), no significant association was found between breast cancer incidence and menopause.
Regarding these findings, the research team pointed out that hypertension and menopause further promote cardiovascular changes that negatively affect blood flow as we age.
As we age, arteries lose their elasticity and become stiff (hardened), which hampers the smooth circulation of blood in peripheral blood vessels, including the breasts. This leads to the result that the blood circulation process does not properly handle waste and inflammation built up in peripheral blood vessels such as the breast, resulting in an environment where tumors or abnormal cells can proliferate. If you have high blood pressure, it usually speeds it up by making your arteries stiffer.
The association with menopause is due to the cardiovascular protective function of the female hormone estrogen. Estrogen dilates blood vessels to improve function and regulates the amount of lipids (such as cholesterol) in the blood. Thus, in general, middle-aged menopausal women have a higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome and atherosclerosis, including obesity and hypertension.
For the same reason, adipose tissue in the breast increases in postmenopausal women and it is assumed that this increase in adipose cells leads to an increase in the secretion of “estradiol”, a follicular hormone known to induce tumors of the breast, urethra and prostate .
In this regard, diastolic blood pressure, not systolic blood pressure, is associated with breast cancer risk. Diastolic blood pressure is the rate at which the heart draws blood from the veins as it expands. When your diastolic blood pressure is higher than your systolic blood pressure, it means your heart isn’t pumping enough blood. In this case, the blood flow to the peripheral blood vessels is further reduced, so the body’s waste and abnormal tissue processing function is inevitably reduced.
Professor Kang said: ‘Although systolic blood pressure is often viewed as more important during blood pressure management, this study demonstrates that diastolic blood pressure management is also important for postmenopausal women.’ Pressure management can have great benefits in cancer prevention.
The results of the research have been published in the international scientific journal “Scientific Reports”.