Marla Ahlgrimm | Blood Pressure And Women

Marla AhlgrimmThe silent killer. These three words, according to Marla Ahlgrimm, are often used to describe high blood pressure. Unfortunately, many women don’t listen to their bodies and assume that high blood pressure only affects men. Here, Ahlgrimm answers a few questions about the disease and how it can impact a woman’s life.

Q: What is high blood pressure?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Blood pressure measures the pressure of the blood in the arteries as your heart beats. It is a set of numbers that represents your systolic pressure and your diastolic pressure. The former is how much pressure is being put on the arteries as your heart takes a beat while the latter is when the heart is at rest.

Q: What is a healthy blood pressure?

Marla Ahlgrimm: A normal blood pressure reading is 120 (systolic)/80 (diastolic) or lower. Anything higher than that gets into the elevated blood pressure range, and a reading of 130/80 indicates stage I hypertension. At 140/90, you are considered at stage II, and anything greater than 180/120 is a medical emergency known as a hypertensive crisis.

Q: What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

Marla AhlgrimmMarla Ahlgrimm: Unfortunately, high blood pressure often comes on with no symptoms, hence the moniker of “silent killer.” Some people experience fatigue and lightheadedness while others may experience flushing and nosebleeds. These are symptoms of extremely high blood pressure that require medical attention. 

Q: How can a woman decrease the risk of experiencing high blood pressure?

Marla Ahlgrimm: First and foremost, it’s crucial to know your family history. If your mother, father, or grandparents had high blood pressure, there’s a good chance that you will, too. But, aside from genetics, engaging in a healthy lifestyle, which includes limiting alcohol, saturated fats, cholesterol, and salt, along with exercising and reducing stress, are the best ways to keep yourself healthy overall.

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