Tags: High Blood Pressure | hypertension | birth control | ob-gyn | not telling

Hypertension and Birth Control: What Your OB-GYN Isn't Telling You

By    |   Wednesday, 15 Jun 2016 07:17 PM

If you are a woman of reproductive age taking a hormonal form of birth control, you should be aware of the potential health risks, such as hypertension.

If your ob-gyn prescribes any hormonal contraceptive — either oral of intrauterine, here's what the doctor should be telling you about these birth control methods and the risk of hypertension.

Hypertension is a condition where the pressure with which the blood is pumped through your veins is stronger than it should be. Hypertension or high blood pressure, usually occurs when your arteries are narrow or become increasingly blocked with plaque.

Hypertension can occur for many years without noticeable symptoms, all the while damaging your arteries.

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The University of Maryland Medical Center identified two hormones that are used to prevent pregnancy — estrogen and progestin. Some methods rely only on a form of progestin; most others use a combination of the two hormones.

A buildup of estrogen in a woman's body was found to be linked to increased hypertension in a study conducted at Michigan State University.

"Michigan State University researchers found long-term estrogen exposure generates excessive levels of the compound superoxide, which causes stress in the body. The buildup of this compound occurs in an area of the brain that is crucial to regulating blood pressure, suggesting that the estrogen-induced buildup causes increased blood pressure," according to a statement released by the university.

Complicating matters for women is that drospirenone, a synthetic type of progestin found in several contraceptives, carries a greater risk of causing blood clots, according to the University of Maryland's Medical Center. Coupled with hypertension, blood clots can result in a heart attack or stroke.

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Women with existing hypertension, high cholesterol, or diabetes, especially those over age 35, are not recommended to take birth control pills, according to the American Heart Association.

The AHA also advises women who are 35 and older and have a body mass index score above 30, which puts them in the obese category, to avoid taking birth control pills.

Women who smoke and are over age 35 should never take birth control pills because of the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Heart attacks in women older than 35 have increased in recent years, and some researchers think it could be related to an increase in women using birth control pills, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Alert: Blood Pressure Information Your Doctor Hasn't Told You

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If you are a woman of reproductive age taking a form of birth control, you should be aware of the potential health risks, such as hypertension. If your ob-gyn prescribes a contraceptive, here's what the doctor should be telling you about birth control and the risk of hypertension.
hypertension, birth control, ob-gyn, not telling
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2016-17-15
Wednesday, 15 Jun 2016 07:17 PM
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