May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke is the leading cause of death and long-term disability in the United States. For a number of reasons, more women suffer this “heart attack of the brain” than men. A number of issues – such as migraine headaches with auras, smoking, hormone therapy, preeclampsia during pregnancy, age and family history – can put a woman at increased risk of stroke. High blood pressure is both a risk of stroke and a sign to watch for. “Blood Pressure is the number one risk factor that a person can do something about,” says McLeod Neurologist Dr. Timothy Hagen. To help you, he explains the right technique to track your blood pressure at home.
Normal blood pressure for women is 120 (systolic) over 80 (diastolic). High blood pressure (or hypertension) is a reading of 140/90 or higher.
If a woman thinks she has higher than normal blood pressure, she should talk with her OB/GYN.
Sources include: McLeod Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Heart Association, National Stroke Association, Women’s Health Initiative, National Institutes of Health