Heart Association Highlights Unique Risks Women Face for High Blood Pressure, Stroke
The American Heart Association (GoRedForWomen.org/Risk) is putting increased emphasis on women’s health this summer, including education efforts to teach women about the unique risks they face for high blood pressure and stroke. Women have a lot on their plates, and sometimes important self-care can take a back seat to work, family, and other obligations. In fact, nearly 50% of adult women have high blood pressure, and nearly three-quarters of those with high blood pressure don’t have it under control. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can significantly increase a woman’s risk for a stroke, but a few important steps can help reduce that risk and give women (and their loved ones) one less thing to worry about.
“While high blood pressure isn’t directly linked to gender, different health issues throughout a woman’s life, such as birth control, pregnancy, and menopause, can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of stroke if left uncontrolled,” according to Dr. Monik Jiménez, a volunteer with the American Heart Association / American Stroke Association, associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and assistant professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Fortunately, 80% of strokes may be prevented and lowering high blood pressures reduces stroke risk. Women can measure their blood pressure at home regularly and let their doctors know if it’s normally above 120/80. In addition, lifestyle adjustments such as getting enough exercise, eating healthfully, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking can go a long way to reduce women’s disease risk from high blood pressure.
The American Heart Association and its American Stroke Association division represent a relentless force for a world with fewer strokes and longer, healthier lives. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit stroke.org. For more information and tips about women’s health and stroke prevention at all stages of life, visit GoRedForWomen.org/Risk.