Did you know February is heart health month? Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure and other serious life threats? Nearly half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure and 45.6% of those with high blood pressure do not have it controlled (American Heart Association, 2020). A recent study of over 33,000 people over 4 decades conducted by the American Heart Association (AHA) leads insight that there are biological differences that account for how men and women present to the doctor with high blood pressure. This information is important because it can reflect how men and women feel with high blood pressure, and the risks it has over time on the heart and vascular system.
The study identified women have sharper and earlier rises in blood pressure than men, and can be present in women as early as their 20s. Because of the sharp rise earlier in life, women have higher incidences of small vessel disease as well as stiffening of the vessels from HTN. This process increases the risk of heart attack in women. Classic symptoms of a heart attack may also vary. The typical crushing chest pain and pressure, radiating pain down the left arm, and nausea are not always experienced. More vague symptoms such as fatigue and heartburn may be the only abnormal feeling a women can experience during a heart attack.
Luckily there are many modifiable factors that can reduce this risk! Blood pressure should be measured every 2 years beginning at age 20. It is also recommended that moderate intensity exercise of 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, can significantly impact blood pressure. Mediterranean diets, lean proteins, low sodium and fasting are excellent ways to reduce your weight and risk. A 10 lb weight reduction can reduce blood pressure by as much as 5 points!
Hormone optimization also has a significant role in protecting your heart and preventing issues from developing in the future. Allied Health and Wellness is here to help guide you on your journey to overall health and wellness!
American Heart Association. (2020). Retrieved from: http://www.heart.org. February 6th, 2020.