High blood pressure — often called the “silent killer” because of its lack of obvious symptoms — appears to be even deadlier for women than men. Recent research out of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina has found women with hypertension face greater cardiovascular risks than men.
The study, published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Cardiovascular Disease, suggests doctors should treat high blood pressure in women more aggressively and in different ways than they now treat men.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high blood pressure strikes one in three Americans, putting them at risk for heart disease and stroke. But the new study found “significant differences” in the way it develops in men and women.
To reach their conclusions, the researchers performed a variety of tests on 100 men and women with untreated high blood pressure, including examinations of forces involved in the circulation of blood, called hemodynamic characteristics, as well as hormonal profiles of the mechanisms behind the development of high blood pressure in both the men and women.
Compared with men who had the same level of high blood pressure, women had 30 to 40 percent more vascular disease, different physiologic characteristics in their cardiovascular systems, and varying levels and types of hormones involved in regulating blood pressure. The research team says these factors can affect the severity and frequency of heart disease.
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