Throughout the week of October 11–17, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office on Women’s Health (OWH) will introduce National Women’s Blood Pressure Awareness Week to increase awareness of blood pressure control for women of reproductive age. ORWH joins OWH and the health community as a whole in drawing special attention to the benefits of tracking and managing blood pressure—particularly high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.
Hypertension is a “silent killer” that affects many women. It is associated with heart disease, the number one cause of death in women; stroke, another leading cause of death for Americans; and organ damage. Preeclampsia, a form of elevated blood pressure some women experience during pregnancy, can lead to pregnancy complications, health problems in pregnant women, and later-life health issues such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, heart failure, and stroke. A history of preeclampsia should inform a patient’s medical care throughout her life, and health care providers and patients are encouraged to discuss and consider any history of preeclampsia as part of regular lifelong medical treatment. (See ORWH’s booklet Maternal Morbidity and Mortality for more information on preeclampsia.)
Incorporating heart-healthy behaviors, such as blood pressure control, into daily life can significantly improve heart health outcomes. During National Women’s Blood Pressure Awareness Week, we encourage women to:
- Measure their blood pressure levels regularly at home, in the office of a health care provider, or at a community location such as a pharmacy or grocery
- Track their blood pressure levels with this handy tracker or blood pressure wallet card
- Share their blood pressure trackers with their health care providers to help improve their heart health status
- Read this high blood pressure fact sheet
- Eat a heart-healthy diet
- Exercise regularly
Though high blood pressure is associated with many serious health problems, regular screening along with a few simple, low-cost preventive practices and behavioral changes can help to control blood pressure and improve overall health. Take steps during National Women’s Blood Pressure Awareness Week toward a healthier future.