A woman’s social interaction and social network can affect her health in significant ways, particularly her blood pressure level. A recent study published by the Journal of Hypertension showed that women who are more isolated tend to have higher blood pressure.
The study included data from over 28,200 people (both male and female) who have various marital statuses and socioeconomic backgrounds. Researchers found that women with less than 2 social activities per month have a higher chance of having high blood pressure (hypertension).
The study also found that women who are widowed tend to have a much higher chance of having high blood pressure than married women.
What else causes high blood pressure in women?
While the exact cause of high blood pressure isn’t usually known, there are some typical things that often lead to having raised levels. The most common factors that add to a woman’s risk for high blood pressure are:
- Lack of physical activity
- Certain health conditions (most common being diabetes)
- Poor lifestyle choices (i.e. smoking, drinking, eating too much salt)
How do I know if I have high blood pressure?
The scary thing about high blood pressure is that there aren’t many obvious indications until you have a heart attack or stroke. The best way to tell is to check your blood pressure often, especially if you’re borderline or have a family history of hypertension. One way to do this is to make sure you’re on track with your yearly well woman exams.
What negative effects does high blood pressure have and how can I lower it?
If you have high blood pressure for too long, it can damage several of your organs, including your heart, kidneys and brain. Furthermore, hypertension increases your risk of having serious health problems like a heart attack, heart failure, chronic kidney disease or stroke.
Fortunately, if you’re willing to make some lifestyle changes, you can lower your blood pressure successfully without the use of medication in many cases. However, you should always talk to your doctor to figure out the best plan first.
Some natural ways that women can get their blood pressure into a healthy range include:
- Exercising 3 or more times a week
- Limiting or eliminating cigarette usage and alcohol consumption
- Eating a heart-healthy diet
- Reducing stress
Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about high blood pressure
If you feel like you’re at risk for developing high blood pressure, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about it. Together, we can come up with a plan to try to prevent or lower your risk of high blood pressure. If you know you already have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor right away. This is a condition that can become serious if not properly treated, so don’t want to leave it unchecked for long.
We’ve all had a lot of added stress and isolation since the start of the pandemic. Make sure you’re paying attention to both your mental and physical health through this difficult time.