While the greeting card and flower industries offer the reminder this month to shower mom with affection, May also offers a couple of great opportunities for women to take stock of an aspect of their lives that often gets neglected in the act of being moms, grand-moms and significant others: their health.
National Women’s Health Week (May 13-19) and May Measurement Month (an offshoot of World Hypertension Day on May 17) both stress the importance of making small but important changes to your life to ensure better health in the long-term.
One of those small but important changes is simple: pay more attention to your blood pressure.
The reason? A common misconception is high blood pressure (or hypertension) rarely affects women. But ladies, that couldn’t be further from the truth: almost half of all adults with high blood pressure are women. And at 65 and older, women are actually more likely than men to get high blood pressure.
WHY ARE WOMEN AFFECTED?
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), “while high blood pressure isn’t directly related to gender, throughout a woman’s life, health issues like pregnancy, pregnancy prevention (birth control) and menopause can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure.”
TIPS FOR WOMEN
To that end, we’ve culled together some tips for women and better long-term health, with a particular emphasis on lowering blood pressure levels:
An Ounce of Prevention
Visit a doctor or nurse for a preventative check-up each year, but don’t leave the blood pressure monitoring solely to the professionals: recent studies show blood pressure levels are almost always higher or lower than normal at the doctor’s office. Make sure you also routinely check your blood pressure at home (see this great how-to video on getting the most accurate reading every time).
Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood or some serious cardio, physical activity is a great way to ensure long-term health while (bonus!) lowering your blood pressure levels.
What foods raise blood pressure? Lower it? Take advantage of the bevy of available recipes designed to lower blood pressure.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Pay attention to stress levels (did you see our blog on stress and blood pressure?) to lower BP readings in the long term.