'Forever chemicals' linked to higher hypertension risk in middle-aged women

Middle-aged women with higher blood concentrations of common chemicals are at higher risk of developing hypertension, according to a June 13 study published in Hypertension.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, referred to as "forever chemicals" because they don't degrade in the environment, are found in water, soil, air and food. Blood concentration data from 1,058 women aged 45-56 was used in an annual analysis from 1999 to 2017. 

Researchers found 470 women developed high blood pressure during the follow-up period. Women in the highest one-third concentrations of all seven chemicals examined had a 71 percent increased risk of developing high blood pressure.

"Women seem to be particularly vulnerable when exposed to these chemicals," said Ning Ding, PhD, study lead author and a postdoctoral fellow in the department of epidemiology at the Ann Arbor-based University of Michigan School of Public Health. "Our study is the first to examine the association between 'forever chemicals' and hypertension in middle-aged women. Exposure may be an underappreciated risk factor for women's cardiovascular disease risk." 

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