Women and high blood pressure

It is easy to assume that high blood pressure is something that mainly affects men but women are equally prone to developing this condition.

Men are at greater risk than women of developing high blood pressure, but, only until the age of 45. Once past this age, the risk balances out until women reach the menopause. Once this happens though, women are at greater risk of high blood pressure than men.

Women can develop high blood pressure for the same reasons as men:

  • Smoking
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • High salt intake
  • Lack of exercise
  • Overweight/obese

These lifestyle factors are no respecter of person, age or gender when it comes to high blood pressure.

Women can also develop heart disease, strokes, kidney failure etc as a result of high blood pressure although the female hormone oestrogen appears to protect women against cardiovascular disease.

But this changes once a woman passes through the menopause. Oestrogen levels fall which then removes that protection. This means that women are prone to developing heart disease and other similar conditions in the same way as men.

But there are three ‘female specific’ areas which can cause high blood pressure in women. These areas are:

  • Oral contraception
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause

These are discussed in more detail within this section.

The good news is that high blood pressure in women can be controlled in the same way it can for men. This involves medication and lifestyle changes which are discussed more in our treating high blood pressure section.

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