Before menopause, women have a blood pressure advantage. Women’s blood pressure starts out lower than men’s, but the advantage doesn’t last.

Women’s systolic pressure — the top number in the blood pressure reading and the one that’s more closely associated with heart disease risk and stroke in people over age 50 — increases by about 5 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) with menopause (heart disease in women).

A study done between 2001 and 2003 among people over age 60 showed that women had a higher systolic blood pressure than did men in every state in America.

According to the report, women tended to think they didn’t have high blood pressure when, in fact, they did.menopausal women

For healthy adults, blood pressure less than 120/80 mm Hg is desirable. Untreated high blood pressure can cause the heart to work too hard.

As a result, the walls of arteries can harden and impede blood flow. Restricted blood flow can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure and dementia.

When blood pressure rises above normal, it’s essential to work with a doctor on a treatment plan to control the condition. The plan might include medications as well as these basic steps. Even one can make a significant difference in blood pressure.

Read more at Medical News Today