(ABC News) – New research shows for the first time that women’s blood vessels, both large and small arteries, age at a faster rate than men’s.
The findings, published recently in JAMA Cardiology, challenge the long-held belief that vascular disease and cardiovascular risk in women lags behind men by up to 20 years, concluding that certain vascular changes in women actually develop earlier and progress faster in women compared to men.
The study looked at nearly 145,000 blood pressure measurements from more than 32,000 people, ranging in age from 5 to 98, over the course of four decades.
Researchers found that blood pressure started increasing in women as early as 30, and continued to rise higher than blood pressure in men throughout the women’s life span.
The study highlights the importance of noting trends in your own blood pressure and monitoring it for a rise earlier in life.
Lifestyle modifications such as regular exercise, eating a heart healthy diet, and avoiding smoking as well as excessive alcohol use are the first things women can do if a rise in blood pressure is seen.
Treating high blood pressure is a way of preventing other diseases, like stroke, heart attacks and heart failure.