Link between Hypertension, and heart Disease in women

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Even though cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of both men and women, the seriousness of this fact seems to escape many women. Breast cancer will be the cause of death for about 16 percent of women, while cardiovascular disease will claim the lives of about 50 percent of women. Yet women are much more aware and afraid of breast cancer.

That’s one reason why I am taking some time to emphasize the importance of women taking charge of their hypertension. Most women are unaware that high blood pressure has a greater impact on them than it does on men. For one thing, women’s risk of having a repeat heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular episode increases as their blood pressure rises. A study conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that a woman’s risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event rose 28 percent when her systolic blood pressure was between 130 and 139 compared to a systolic pressure of 120 to 129.!

Women face some unique challenges when it comes to high blood pressure. One challenge is pregnancy, which is discussed separately later in this chapter. Another challenge is the use of birth control pills. Taking oral contraceptives is associated with elevated blood pressure in some women, especially those who are overweight and/or those who smoke.

Yet another challenge women sometimes face when it comes to hypertension is obesity. Women, more than men, tend to gain weight as they age, and this tendency is largely associated with menopause. The added weight increases the risk and dangers of high blood pressure.

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