High blood pressure: The silent killer of women

Deanne Stein Health Guide
  • Every time I see the doctor, my visit always starts with a step onto the scales followed by a check of my blood pressure. I've never paid too much attention to the these mundane tasks. In fact, I'm usually more interested in my weight than my blood pressure. I guess it's because my weight sometimes fluctuates while my blood pressure is never a concern. It's always where it needs to be. However, when I had the flu last month, I visited my doctor to make sure I didn't have pneumonia. Luckily, I didn't have pneumonia but my blood pressure registered low for the first time in my life. It wasn't a concern, though, since I had been so sick. I'm just happy it wasn't high because high blood pressure can cause real problems, especially if it's not treated.

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    It seems people with high blood pressure aren't taking it as seriously as they should. According to a report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, many states, especially in the South and our nation's Capitol, should boost blood pressure control efforts. Hypertension has often been considered a gateway condition to heart disease. My doctor has even called the silent killer. And women are apparently suffering more from blood pressure than men. In fact, the report states between the early 1990s and early 2000s, uncontrolled hypertension in adult women increased from 17 percent to more than 22 percent. At the same time, the rate of hypertension in men decreased from 19 percent to 17 percent. The worst rates in the United States are in the District of Columbia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia and South Carolina. The states with the lowest hypertension rates are Vermont, Minnesota, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Iowa and Colorado. However, researchers found in every state in the U.S. women have higher uncontrolled hypertension prevalence rates than men do.


    High blood pressure is one of the most common preventable risk factors for heart disease and stroke. It's a lifelong disease than can usually be controlled but not cured. But once you begin to manage it, doctors say maintaining a lower blood pressure is easy. The first step is to have your blood pressure checked. If it's high, work with your doctor to determine the best treatment. Typical treatments include more exercise, better diets and use of anti-hypertensive medications. It's also a good idea to stop smoking and reduce your intake of alcoholic drinks. The main thing is to control your high blood pressure to lower your risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure and even kidney disease.

Published On: March 10, 2008