period-healthYou may think the only thing your period can tell you is whether or not you’re pregnant—or if need to pop an ibuprofen because your cramps hurt like hell. But your menstrual cycle can actually clue you in to other health issues, too.

According to new research from the American Heart Association, women whose periods start at age 10 or younger—or 17 and older—have a higher risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and health complications related to high blood pressure. Women who experience their first menstrual cycle at 13, however, have the least risk of experiencing those conditions. Granted, that doesn’t mean that your period causes any of these problems—or that you’re doomed to experience them if you’re an early or late bloomer. But it’s still a good reminder that your flow can serve as an indication of other things going on in your bod.

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