Lots of us mistakenly believe that high blood pressure is more common among men. The truth is nearly half of all adults with high blood pressure are women. In fact, beginning at age 65, or following the onset of menopause, women are actually more likely to have this condition than men.
Three out of four women with high blood pressure know they have it-- that’s the good news. The bad news is that fewer than one in three are doing anything about it. If you know you have high blood pressure, there are steps you can take to help control it:
Lower your salt and fat intake, and avoid sodium-rich foods.
Eat foods rich in potassium such as apricots, lima beans, spinach and bananas.
Avoid packing on the pounds. There’s a connection between high-blood pressure and being overweight.
Try to get at least seven hours of sleep a night. Insomnia has been associated with a rise in blood pressure.
Learn to manage anger, anxiety and stress levels through relaxation techniques like meditating, going for a walk, enjoying a hobby or taking an hour break from the daily routine work.
Avoid smoking and drinking. Nicotine increases the blood pressure by causing the heart to pump blood faster than the required rate. Alcohol blocks vital minerals from reaching certain parts of the body.
Take your medication regularly. If your physician recommends a drug to lower your blood pressure, be vigilant about taking it daily.
And most importantly, make sure you get a blood pressure reading regularly. Don’t ignore it if you are diagnosed with hypertension. Speak with your doctor about the most effective treatment for you.
Robin Westen is ThirdAge’s medical reporter. Check for her daily updates.
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