Hypertension can lead to several cardiovascular diseases. According to epidemiologic data, there has been enough evidence to show benefits of breastfeeding in both mothers and their children. It has already been well observed and analyzed that long-term breastfeeding reduces the risk of allergies, obesity, celiac disease and diabetes mellitus in children. There has been recently more research conducted on the benefits of breastfeeding in mothers.
Several studies found that absence of breastfeeding or premature discontinuation is associated with increased risk of dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular diseases. However, only a few studies have established a relationship between hypertension and breastfeeding.
The study comprised 3,119 post-menopausal women aged 50 years or older. The participant women were non-smokers. Data on these participants were taken from the 2010-2011 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Longer periods of breastfeeding significantly reduced the risk of developing hypertension. Insulin resistance and degree of obesity were also reset by breastfeeding for longer duration. The highest quintile of children breastfed, (5-11) showed reduced risk of hypertension by around 51% compared with the lowest quintile (0-1) of children breastfed. The highest quintile of breastfeeding duration (96 to 324 months) reduced the risk of hypertension by almost 45% as compared to not breastfeeding or breastfeeding for short durations. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of obesity-related conditions, resets maternal metabolism (fat accumulation and insulin resistance) and stimulates oxytocin production.
Nam-Kyong Choi, the paper’s lead researcher, highlighted on breastfeeding benefits for maternal health in later stages of life. The research was recently published in the American Journal of Hypertension.