Men and women are very different. We know that already! What you might not know is that heart health is very different between men and women. One common misconception is that high blood pressure doesn’t affect women. That’s false! Almost half of all adults with high blood pressure are women. At age 65 and older, women are more likely to have high blood pressure than men.
According to a new study, blood pressure begins to increase at younger ages in women than it does in men. While women who develop heart disease are around 10 years older on average than when men develop it, leading factors may start at an earlier age.
The report, published in JAMA Cardiology, suggests that high blood pressure begins at an earlier age in women than in men; it also rises faster. High blood pressure is one of the most significant (and controllable) factors when it comes to cardiovascular disease.
This study collected data over 43 years, in which 2,833 people ages 5 to 98 participated. It found that women show faster rates of increased blood pressure by the time they’re in their 20’s as compared to men.
According to Dr. Susan Cheng, senior author of the study and director of public health research at the Cedars-Sinai Smidt Heart Institute in Los Angeles, the differences comes down to physiology.
“The fundamental anatomy and physiology are very different in men and women,” said Dr. Cheng. “I would encourage all to catch it as it starts to creep up, but keeping an eye on blood pressure is especially important for women.”
Blood pressure changes as you go through different stages of life. For women, those stages of life are often biologically different from men. Let’s look at the different patterns of blood pressure in women.
Blood Pressure and Birth Control Pills
For some women, birth control pills elevate blood pressure. Blood pressure is more likely to be elevated if you’re overweight, have a family history of high blood pressure, or mild kidney disease. Before taking oral contraceptives, be sure to talk with your doctor about the risks and regulate your blood pressure regularly.
High Blood Pressure While Pregnant
Your blood pressure is different while you’re pregnant. Some women experience elevated blood pressure and a variety of other conditions during pregnancy.
Some women develop hypertension during pregnancy if they’ve never had high blood pressure before. This type of hypertension usually develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy and usually disappears after delivery. Gestational hypertension can be harmful to the baby and the mother, so if you’re experiencing elevated blood pressure, consult with your doctor.
Preeclampsia is a condition very similar to gestational hypertension. Those with preeclampsia experience high blood pressure and elevated protein levels in the urine. Preeclampsia goes away once the baby is delivered. There are a few factors that raise your risk of developing preeclampsia, including primiparity, chronic hypertension and/or chronic renal disease, thrombophilia, multifetal pregnancy, in vitro fertilization, family history of the disease, diabetes, obesity, lupus, and advanced maternal age.
Preeclampsia can potentially harm the placenta, damage the mother’s kidneys, liver, and brain, fetal complications like low birth weight, premature birth, and stillbirth.
Blood Pressure AfterMenopause
Women have a higher chance of developing high blood pressure during menopause. See your doctor regularly and regulate your blood pressure at home to stay on top of it!
Different patterns of blood pressure in women can cause various problems for women, especially in the childbearing years. Make sure that you take care of your heart health. If you’re experiencing high blood pressure, try out L-arginine Plus!