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Many Women Struggle With Uncontrolled Blood Pressure
Date:7/16/2008

of the problem is that women tend to suffer from an increased systolic rate, said Dr. Daniel Jones, president of the American Heart Association.

Blood pressure is the force of the blood against artery walls when the heart beats and then rests. Measurement renders two numbers. Systolic pressure, the top number, is recorded when your heart beats and forces blood out to the body. Diastolic pressure is the bottom number, and is the minimum pressure that occurs when the heart relaxes between beats. The ideal blood pressure is below 120/80 mmHg, according to the heart association.

But, Jones added, "The systolic rate is more resistant to treatment through medication."

Goldberg believes that some women might be stopping their blood pressure medication without talking with their doctor, after suffering from side effects that can include insomnia, lethargy and depression.

"If the medication is a problem, we have many different medications that help," said Goldberg, author of Dr. Nieca Goldberg's Complete Guide to Women's Health.

Further complicating treatment is the perception of high blood pressure as a "man's disease," which might affect the intensity of care they receive, Goldberg said.

"Sometimes, the woman's needs aren't being met at the doctor's office," she said. "They need to ask the simple question, 'What is my blood pressure?' And if it seems a little elevated, they need to talk to a doctor about what to do to fix it."

Women also shouldn't ignore the lifestyle changes they can pursue that will lower their blood pressure, or help prevent it from rising in the first place, Jones said.

"They're not as easy to do as some things, but they are very powerful," he said.

Diet can have a big impact on high blood pressure. A recent study found that women 45 years old and older who ate low-fat diary foods were at lower risk of developing high blood pressure.

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