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Maintaining your blood pressure

If you are able to control your blood pressure you reduce your chances of getting heart disease or having a stroke. But if you are a woman, keeping your blood pressure at normal levels has been shown to afford you greater protection against heart disease than men.

According to the Hypertension Guidelines for Bermuda 2011, hypertensive women who lower their systolic pressure (the top figure) by 15mmHG reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by 40 percent compared with men who were shown to have a 20 percent reduction.

Women who have high blood pressure should also be aware that their oral contraceptives might be contributing to the problem. According to the guidelines, women with high blood pressure should be on the progesterone-only pill, commonly called POP.

Women over 35 who smoke or suffer with migraines are advised not to use a combined oral contraceptive.

The guidelines say that women with stage-one hypertension, ie a blood pressure of 140-159/90 99, who want to remain on oral contraceptives should closely monitor their blood pressure, cut salt from their diets and use anti-hypertensive medication.

Women with stage-two hypertension or higher, ie blood pressure over 160/100, should not be allowed to take combined oral contraceptives.

Women in menopause have it a bit easier as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has not been shown to increase blood pressure. Hypertensive women in this category can continue their HRT treatments.

Body & Soul has partnered with the Department of Health to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining your blood pressure at healthy levels ie 120-129/80-84.

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Published November 29, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated November 29, 2011 at 8:01 am)

Maintaining your blood pressure

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