It’s estimated that at least 77 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure. Many people mistakenly believe that it’s more likely to affect men, while in truth nearly half of all adults with high blood pressure are women.

In fact at age 65 after the onset of the menopause, women are actually more at risk than men of developing hypertension. Birth control pills can also raise blood pressure in some women, something that’s more likely to happen if you’re overweight or have had high BP during pregnancy.

Recent report indicates black women more at risk of high blood pressure

Black women in the US are more likely to have high blood pressure than black men or white women and men according to recent research. The report also highlighted the fact that black people in general are twice as likely as white people to have undiagnosed and untreated hypertension.
The notion that high blood pressure was the domain of chain-smoking middle aged men has now been firmly turned on its head, according to the study’s author Dr. Uchech Samspon, from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville. The report first appeared in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes Journal and involved research data from 70,000 subjects across the 12 states known as the ‘stroke belt’ of southeastern US. It’s known as this because people here are more likely to get a stroke than anywhere else in the country – with high blood pressure a well- known risk factor behind strokes.

Hypertension differs between ethnic groups

The rate of hypertension among the people studied was 57 % overall, with 59% of black people suffering from the condition as opposed to 52% of white people. The rate of high blood pressure in black women was an alarming 64% in comparison with 52% in white women and 51% in both white and black men.
Of those found to have high blood pressure just over 30% of black men were undiagnosed along with 28% of black women, while 17% of white women and 27% of white men had not been diagnosed. Black people were found twice as likely in general to have blood pressure that was uncontrolled, with men more likely than women to have uncontrolled hypertension.
Those who had been diagnosed high BP were usually prescribed medications with 44% taking at least two types of meds. Just 29 % were using diuretics, generally considered a first line treatment.

The conclusions of the recent research

The report’s authors say that their research shows that we should look for high blood pressure in everyone – especially in women, who historically have received less attention for the condition. And according to another recent report blood pressure is more dangerous for women than men – apparently they need earlier and more aggressive treatment in order to reduce it. The recent research was carried out by scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center who found significant differences between the mechanisms that cause high blood pressure in women compared to men.
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