“Men are more likely than women to develop high blood pressure throughout middle age. But in older adults, women are more likely than men to develop high…”.1

Umbrella
What may the High Blood Pressure and Women Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Essential Hypertension
  • High Blood Pressure (HBP)
  • Hypertension
  • Idiopathic Hypertension
  • Primary Hypertension
  • Women

Blood Pressure

What is blood pressure (BP)?

DotS the definition of BP may vary. The (United States) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition is:

“Blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Your blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day”.2

High Blood Pressure

What is high blood pressure (HBP) or hypertension?

DotS the definition of HBP may vary. The World Heart Federation’s definition is:

“Generally hypertension is defined a systolic blood pressure level of 140 and above. This is a risk factor for coronary heart disease and the single most important risk factor for stroke”.3

Risk

Who is at risk of HBP?

In High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Who Is At Risk? the (United States) Food and Drug Administration explain:

“Anyone can have high blood pressure. Some people are more likely to have high blood pressure including:

  • African Americans
  • People over age 55
  • People with a family history of high blood pressure
Your chances of having high blood pressure are higher if you:

  • Are overweight
  • Eat foods high in salt
  • Do not get regular exercise
  • Smoke
  • Drink alcohol heavily”.4

Women

In women, how common is HBP?

In High Blood Pressure: Risk Factors – Sex the NHLBI  note:

“Men are more likely than women to develop high blood pressure throughout middle age. But in older adults, women are more likely than men to develop high blood pressure”.5

In High Blood Pressure and Women: Pregnancy and Other Factors Can Elevate the Risk of HBP Among Women the American Heart Association (AHA) explain:

“One common misconception is that high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) rarely affects women. However, nearly half of all adults with high blood pressure are women. And at 65 and older, women are more likely than men to get high blood pressure. While high blood pressure isn’t directly related to gender, throughout a woman’s life, health issues like pregnancy, pregnancy prevention (birth control) and menopause can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure”.6

Menopause

Is there an association between menopause and HBP?

In High Blood Pressure and Women: High Blood Pressure After Menopause the AHA also note:

High Blood Pressure and Women“While you may have had normal blood pressure most of your life, your chances of developing high blood pressure increase considerably after menopause. See your doctor regularly to have your blood pressure monitored”.7

In Menopause and High Blood Pressure: What’s the Connection? Is There A Connection Between Menopause and High Blood Pressure? the (United States) Mayo Clinic note:

“Blood pressure generally increases after menopause. Some doctors think this increase suggests that shifting hormones related to menopause are to blame. Others think an increase in body mass index (BMI) in menopausal women may be the more likely culprit. Changes in hormones during menopause can lead to weight gain and make your blood pressure more sensitive to salt in your diet — which, in turn, can lead to higher blood pressure. Some types of hormone therapy (HT) for menopause also may lead to higher blood pressure”.8

Control and Prevent

What can help control and prevent HBP?

The Mayo Clinic encourage women:

“To control your blood pressure both before and after menopause, focus on a healthy lifestyle:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat heart-healthy foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables
  • Reduce the amount of processed foods and salt in your diet
  • Exercise most days of the week
  • Manage stress
  • Limit or avoid alcohol
  • If you smoke, stop
If necessary, your doctor may prescribe medications to help lower your blood pressure”.9

DASH Diet

What is Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or the DASH Diet?

In Nutrition and Healthy Eating: In-Depth – DASH Diet: Healthy Eating To Lower Your Blood Pressure the Mayo Clinic elaborate on:

“The DASH diet encourages you to reduce the sodium in your diet and eat a variety of foods rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. By following the DASH diet, you may be able to reduce your blood pressure by a few points in just two weeks. Over time, the top number of your blood pressure (systolic blood pressure) could drop by eight to 14 points, which can make a significant difference in your health risks.”.10

The Mayo Clinic also note:

“Because the DASH diet is a healthy way of eating, it offers health benefits besides just lowering blood pressure. The DASH diet is also in line with dietary recommendations to prevent osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes”.11

Health Care Provider

What if I think I have HBP?

If you think you have HBP, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this. In High Blood Pressure – Symptoms and Treatment the British Heart Foundation explain:

“Many people with high blood pressure feel fine. But even if you feel fine, you should still have your blood pressure checked regularly. If you’re a healthy adult over 40, it’s recommended that you get it checked at least once every five years. But if you’re at increased risk of high blood pressure, you should have it checked more often, ideally once a year”.12

Health Topics A-Z

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Links

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. High Blood Pressure: Risk Factors – Sex. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/high-blood-pressure#More-Information Accessed: 18 May 2020
  2. High Blood Pressure: About High Blood Pressure? What Is Blood Pressure? Page Last Reviewed: 28 January 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/about.htm Accessed: 18 May 2020
  3. Risk Factors: Cardiovascular Risk Factors – Modifiable Risk Factors: How Hypertension Impacts on Your Heart and Blood Vessels. 30 May 2017. World Heart Federation https://www.world-heart-federation.org/resources/risk-factors/ Accessed: 18 May 2020
  4. High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Who Is At Risk? Content Current As of: 29 May 2019. Food and Drug Administration https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ByAudience/ForWomen/ucm118529.htm Accessed: 18 May 2020
  5. High Blood Pressure: Risk Factors – Sex. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/high-blood-pressure#More-Information Accessed: 18 May 2020
  6. High Blood Pressure and Women: Pregnancy and Other Factors Can Elevate the Risk of HBP Among Women. Last Reviewed: 31 October 2016. American Heart Association https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/why-high-blood-pressure-is-a-silent-killer/high-blood-pressure-and-women Accessed: 18 May 2020
  7. High Blood Pressure and Women: High Blood Pressure After Menopause. Last Reviewed: 31 October 2016. American Heart Association https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/why-high-blood-pressure-is-a-silent-killer/high-blood-pressure-and-women Accessed: 18 May 2020
  8. Menopause and High Blood Pressure: What’s the Connection? Is There A Connection Between Menopause and High Blood Pressure? 16 July 2019. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/expert-answers/menopause-and-high-blood-pressure/faq-20058406 Accessed: 18 May 2020
  9. Menopause and High Blood Pressure: What’s the Connection? Is There A Connection Between Menopause and High Blood Pressure? 16 July 2019. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/expert-answers/menopause-and-high-blood-pressure/faq-20058406 Accessed: 18 May 2020
  10. Nutrition and Healthy Eating: In-Depth – DASH Diet: Healthy Eating To Lower Your Blood Pressure. 08 May 2019. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/dash-diet/art-20048456 Accessed: 18 May 2020
  11. Nutrition and Healthy Eating: In-Depth – DASH Diet: Healthy Eating To Lower Your Blood Pressure. 08 May 2019. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/dash-diet/art-20048456 Accessed: 18 May 2020
  12. High Blood Pressure – Symptoms and Treatment. British Heart Foundation https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/risk-factors/high-blood-pressure/symptoms-and-treatment Accessed: 18 May 2020
Topic Last Updated: 18 May 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 18 May 2020
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