Women were more likely than males to have hypertension, a major modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Even though sexual violence against women was frequent, no prospective research has looked at the connection between lifetime sexual assault and workplace sexual harassment and hypertension in large civilian samples with extended follow-up. For a study, researchers looked at whether the events were linked to a higher risk of acquiring hypertension over 7 years. Women without hypertension at the time of the sexual assault and workplace sexual harassment assessments in 2008 (n=33,127) were included in a substudy of the Nurses’ Health Study II. Through 2015, hypertension was defined as a self-reported doctor diagnosis or the start of antihypertensive drug use. Researchers used Cox proportional hazards regression models to forecast the time it would take for someone to acquire hypertension after exposure to sexual violence, correcting for relevant factors. Throughout the research, 7,096 women developed hypertension. Sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace were commonplace (23% and 12%, respectively; 6% of women experienced both). After controlling for relevant covariates, women who had both sexual assault and workplace sexual harassment had the highest risk of developing hypertension (hazard ratio [HR], 1.21; 95% CI, 1.09–1.35), followed by women who had only workplace sexual harassment (HR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.05–1.25), and finally, women who had only sexual assault (HR, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.03–1.19). Sexual assault and workplace sexual harassment were linked to a higher risk of hypertension in the long run. Reducing violence against women was essential in and of itself, and it might have also enhanced their cardiovascular health.

 

Link:www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.121.023015