High blood pressure is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’ and increases an individual’s risk for the two leading causes of death in the world – heart diseases and stroke. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that in the United States 1 in 3 adults suffer from a high blood pressure. Interestingly studies conducted in recent years show a considerable difference in the way high blood pressure affects women compared to men. This difference generally stems from the fact that there are significant differences in the mechanisms responsible for high blood pressure conditions in men and women. In light of this information doctors feel the need to introduce more aggressive treatment methods in order to treat women suffering from high blood pressure.
The likelihood of women developing vascular diseases is 30% to 40% higher when compared to that in case of men. To a certain extent psychological factors, including varying levels and types of hormones that are involved in the regulation of blood are responsible for this increased frequency of heart diseases in women.
Traditionally, the medical community believed the same blood pressure medicine could be used for all the patients irrespective of the gender. However, recent studies challenged this idea and considered gender a factor in determining the choice of drug used to treat high blood pressure. The study necessitated the need for a better understanding of the additional factors that contribute to high blood pressure in women. At the same time, it showed that there is a need to introduce new protocols to treat high blood pressure in women.
The most important step that can be taken to ensure better health for women is keeping blood pressure in check. In the past two decades, the cardiovascular disease-related mortality rate in men has shown a significant decline. However, the same cannot be said of the female population that has actually seen an increate in the mortality rate due to cardiovascular disease, now regarded as the leading cause of death in women.
Certain lifestyle changes can help reverse this trend and decrease the risk for elevated blood pressure and heart diseases. These include:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Staying physically active
- Not smoking
- Limiting alcohol use.