High Blood Pressure: Risk Factors in Women  

Several factors may increase the likelihood of a woman having high blood pressure. A woman is at higher risk if she is:

  • Overweight
  • African American
  • Past menopause
  • Over 65 -- half of senior women have high blood pressure
  • Taking hormone replacement therapy -- for most women taking estrogen for menopause, blood pressure does not rise, but for a few it does. (The doctor will monitor the blood pressure of a woman taking hormones, particularly in the beginning.)
  • Taking birth control pills -- especially if she is overweight, over 35 years old, has a family history of high blood pressure, smokes, or had high blood pressure during pregnancy.
  • Pregnant -- some women develop high blood pressure while pregnant and need to be closely monitored until delivery. High blood pressure can pose health risks to both the mother and baby, especially if a condition called pre-eclampsia develops.


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Review Date: June 3, 2003

Reviewed By: Jacqueline A. Hart, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Harvard University and Senior Medical Editor, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2004 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.


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