High blood pressure, or hypertension, is often considered a men’s health problem but that’s just a myth.

Both men and women older than age 40 have a similar risk for developing high blood pressure. And with the onset of menopause, women’s risk of developing high blood pressure actually rises higher than a man’s risk.

For both men and women, blood pressure levels can rise without noticeable symptoms. It can be difficult to tell if you are in need of help unless you’re getting your blood pressure checked on a consistent basis.

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Symptoms of High Blood Pressure in Women

In some women, however, symptoms can manifest themselves and they can be slightly different than the symptoms men might notice.

Severe high blood pressure can lead to nosebleeds, headaches or dizziness.

Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure

Besides understanding the symptoms of high blood pressure in women, it’s also important to understand and recognize the risk factors.

Risk factors for high blood pressure include a lack of exercise, a poor diet, being overweight, family history of high blood pressure, advanced age, excessive drinking, stress, smoking and a lack of consistent and quality sleep.

Recognizing High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure may not show many signs of affecting you, but it’s a condition you shouldn’t ignore.

To understand your risk for serious cardiovascular diseases, it’s important you understand and track your own blood pressure. Without keeping high blood pressure in control, you can suffer with serious health problems.

The damage high blood pressure causes to the blood vessels and the additional work it requires from the heart takes its toll on your health.

The best way to recognize problems with your blood pressure is to have it checked regularly. You can have your blood pressure checked by your doctor during routine physical health examinations, or you can check your blood pressure at home with a home monitor. You can also find blood pressure monitors at your local pharmacy and in big chain grocery stores.

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Additional High Blood Pressure Risks for Women

During childbearing years, some women taking birth control pills may notice slightly elevated blood pressure. Pregnant women may also have a slightly higher blood pressure level. With any concerns, be sure to get regular checkups and monitoring.

A more serious condition may occur during pregnancy called pregnancy-induced hypertension, which is related to preeclampsia.

While preeclampsia is a manageable condition, it’s a serious concern that can include high blood pressure, bladder problems and additional weight gain and swelling.

Women in their teens and 40s, who have had multiple pregnancies, are obese or who have had hypertension or kidney problems are at a higher risk for preeclampsia.

Managing the Risk of High Blood Pressure

Experts recommend women at risk for high blood pressure and women in general take necessary steps to manage their risk for high blood pressure.

To reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure:

  • Exercise 30 to 45 minutes a day at least five days a week
  • Eat a balanced diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables, low in saturated fats and sodium
  • Visit with your doctor regularly
  • Monitor your blood pressure consistently

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