Women’s Health: High Blood Pressure

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Normal Blood Pressure for Women, Women’s Health: High Blood Pressure, Dr. Nicolle

This is Hypertension Prevention Tuesdays! Today, we’ll talk about blood pressure in women. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is the most important risk factor for stroke. Blood pressure is the force your blood makes against your artery walls when your heart beats. If this force (pressure) is too high, it can damage your arteries.

 

You are more likely to have high blood pressure if you have a family history of high blood pressure. Other risk factors for high blood pressure include eating unhealthy food often, not exercising, and having overweight or obesity.

 

In the United States, non-Hispanic black women are at the highest risk of high blood pressure.1 This may be because they are more likely to have obesity or diabetes, which can cause high blood pressure. Research has also found a gene common in people who are African-American that increases sensitivity to salt. In people who have this gene, just one extra half a teaspoon of salt a day could raise blood pressure.2 Also, studies show that blood pressure levels are higher among people who are African-American even after controlling for other factors, and some of this difference may be due to the effects of discrimination in the United States.3

Normal Blood Pressure for Women, Women’s Health: High Blood Pressure, Dr. Nicolle

High blood pressure usually shows no symptoms. The only way to know you have it is to get your blood pressure measured. Measure your blood pressure to find out your numbers:

 

  • Systolic (the top number) is the pressure as your heart beats or pumps blood into your arteries.
  • Diastolic (the bottom number) is the pressure when your heart is at rest.

To lower your risk of stroke, try to lower your blood pressure to less than 120 systolic/80 diastolic.

 

Many women — more than men — get “white coat hypertension.” This means that your anxiety or stress level goes up when you are at the doctor’s office, and this can make your blood pressure go up. If medical visits increase your stress level, ask your doctor for a monitor to wear at home to get a more accurate blood pressure reading.

If you would like to receive a free resource sheet to support your quest for better heart health, click the button below to receive your gift.

 

Normal Blood Pressure for Women, Women’s Health: High Blood Pressure, Dr. Nicolle

 

I’m excited to talk about this topic today because not only do I truly believe that you have the power to reverse heart disease and lower high blood pressure to improve your health, but the science also agrees! You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of these chronic diseases so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.

 

As you may already know, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you improve blood pressure and reverse heart disease. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.

 

Tools to Improve Heart Health

Blood Pressure Monitoring

It’s very important to monitor your blood pressure. I often recommend an automatic upper arm blood pressure cuff, but a wrist blood pressure monitor is also acceptable.

Normal Blood Pressure for Women, Women’s Health: High Blood Pressure, Dr. Nicolle

Weight Monitoring

Since weight management is very important in blood pressure control, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor.

 

Normal Blood Pressure for Women, Women’s Health: High Blood Pressure, Dr. NicolleRemember, healthy lifestyle behaviors–like eating a whole-foods plant-based diet that is low in sodium, being physically active, and stress management are the best ways to prevent and control high blood pressure. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use.

 

Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

 

Stay healthy,

 

Dr. Nicolle

 

PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.

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Women\'s Health: High Blood Pressure

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