by Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP
What makes your blood pressure rise to unhealthy levels, and what can you do to bring it back down naturally? Here’s our guide to the prevention and cure of hypertension.
- What is blood pressure?
- Conventional treatment for hypertension
- Risks associated with high blood pressure
- What causes high blood pressure?
- Blood pressure and stress
- High blood pressure in women
- Diet, syndrome X, and high blood pressure
- Salt and high blood pressure
- How to prevent or treat high blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle
- Blood pressure readings — taking your vital signs
With one in four women in America being diagnosed with high blood pressure, chances are you or a woman you love will be affected. Cases of hypertension (the medical term for high blood pressure) in the US have jumped 30% in just the last decade. Though this doesn’t quite mean it’s an epidemic, numbers like this are cause for concern.
Just because you don’t have a diagnosis of high blood pressure now doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk. Hypertension is often thought of as a condition that doesn’t afflict women because until they reach menopause, their risk of developing it is much lower than males their same age. But once women lose the protection of estrogen after menopause, the incidence of high blood pressure rises sharply to reach levels similar to men’s.
Sadly, most people experience no discernable sign of high blood pressure until the damage is done and cannot be reversed. Chronic high blood pressure can shorten your lifespan by 10–20 years and is linked with some of our most entrenched degenerative problems, like type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease (CHD). Ultimately, hypertension places you at high risk for stroke, heart attack, and renal failure.
So high blood pressure is a serious women’s health problem. If you are on medication or need to be, I fully support that as a starting point. But more women need to understand that hypertension is not an inevitable part of aging or genetic destiny. Nor is a lifetime of medication the only course of action!
The truth is that this is one area of your health that is fully modifiable if you are willing to commit to some positive changes in your diet and lifestyle. You can begin to prevent or treat your high blood pressure today. Let’s find out how.