Maintaining the blood pressure on the normal level is the presumption of a healthy and long life. Both men and women may experience serious consequences of the heightened blood pressure, such as heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure or even a stroke.
Human heart pumps the blood about 60 to 70 times in one minute, when the person is resting. That blood pressure, when the heart pumps the blood out from the heart and into the arteries is called systolic blood pressure. In the resting phase, between the two heartbeats, there is still some (usually much lower) blood pressure than systolic and that is known as diastolic blood pressure.
American Heart Association considers 120/80mm Hg as the normal blood pressure for women. If these values goes up a bit (up to 139/89mm Hg, which is a condition called pre-hypertension), most doctors advise their patients to change their lifestyle. Blood pressure above 139/89mm Hg is usually treated with medications.
What Affects Blood Pressure in Women
It is normal that blood pressure oscillates during the day. If you were to measure your blood pressure throughout 24 hours, you would notice that it is at its lowest during the sleep, and that it increases when the person gets up.
As already mentioned, lifestyle has certain effects on blood pressure. Bad eating habits, lots of caffeine and smoking affect the condition of the arteries and may lead to hypertension (high blood pressure). Sedentary lifestyle and a lack of physical activity, as well as the use of contraceptive pills can also be the root cause of heightened blood pressure in women. Regular exercise and low sodium diet are some of the first advices of many doctors, when the patient is diagnosed with pre-hypertension state or hypertension.
Women were considered to be less likely to develop hypertension than man. However, recent studies revealed that this fact is only partially true. Young women are found to be protected by high level of estrogen in their body, and they are less prone to high blood pressure. However, this rule can’t be applied to older women, or those who smoke or use birth control pills.
Pregnancy and aging are also important factors for blood pressure in women. There is a condition known as pregnancy-induced high blood pressure (or gestational hypertension), which might become serious condition for both mother and the unborn child, and pregnant women are regularly checked for that problem at their doctors. Additionally, in women after the age of 50, there is a 50% chance to develop hypertension.