Have you hit menopause? Are you pregnant? Do you take birth control? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re at risk of developing hypertension, also called high blood pressure.
You can’t feel hypertension. And when left uncontrolled, it damages your organs and puts you at risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
At Obstetricians & Gynecologists, PC, in Hastings and Grand Island, Nebraska, our team of women’s health experts understands how life stages, medications, and lifestyle choices affect health and put women at risk of developing certain diseases.
Though many women may have more concerns about breast cancer than blood pressure, we think it’s important for you to know about hypertension and what you can do about it.
Hypertension is a disease in which the force of blood against the walls of your arteries is consistently too high. Your arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body.
Your blood pressure measures the force of blood when your heart beats (systolic pressure, or the top number) and at rest in between beats (diastolic, or the bottom number).
Over time, the excess pressure causes arteries to stiffen and narrow, making it harder for your heart to pump blood throughout your body. Hypertension puts you at risk of developing other health problems like heart disease, kidney disease, and vascular dementia (dementia caused by a decrease in oxygen-rich blood to the brain).
It’s also a risk factor for a heart attack and stroke.
Nearly 50% of adult women in the United States have hypertension. Many factors put you at risk of developing this common chronic health condition, including:
Health issues specific to women are risk factors for high blood pressure as well, including pregnancy and menopause. Research also shows that women who take high-dose hormonal birth control may be at greater risk of having hypertension.
You can’t control all of the factors that put you at risk of developing hypertension, but you can take control of some.
The best thing you can do for your health and lower your risk of developing high blood pressure — or any of the related health complications — is by getting your annual well-woman exam.
The purpose of your well-woman exam is to assess your current health and risk of future disease. Identifying health issues or risk factors early may prevent or delay chronic health problems like hypertension and related health complications.
We also talk to you about lifestyle habits you can change to improve blood pressure. Efforts like quitting smoking, getting more exercise, making smart dietary choices, and managing your weight play an important role in lowering your blood pressure and improving your overall health.
If you have concerns about hypertension or any other health issue, we can help. Our primary care providers manage all health needs. Call or request an appointment online today at the office most convenient to you.