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Normal Blood Pressure for Women

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Maintaining normal blood pressure for women plays a key role in lowering your risk of heart disease. A systolic number below 120 and a diastolic number below 80, or 120/80, is considered to be the normal blood pressure level for everyone, according to the Mayo Clinic. Age, weight, and other factors can have an impact on your blood pressure levels, however.

Age

It's possible to develop high blood pressure at any age, but the risk increases as you get older. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, two out of three people over the age of 65 have blood pressure levels of 140/90 or more, which is considered high. Once they are 65, women are also more likely to develop high blood pressure than men, according to the American Heart Association. This is believed to be because of the hormonal changes that take place during menopause.

Although high blood pressure is a common problem for older women, there's also an increased risk of low blood pressure. Levels of 90/60 or less are considered low. While low blood pressure is generally not serious, it can make you dizzy or lightheaded.

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Weight

Normal blood pressure for women is more common if you have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI). Being overweight or obese puts you at a greater risk of having high blood pressure, or levels of 140/90 or more. Women who are only a little overweight may also experience prehypertension, which is when your levels are in between normal and high ranges. If you have prehypertension, your levels will range from 140 to 159 and 90 to 99.

The good news is that losing 10 to 20 pounds can reduce your blood pressure levels, according to the American Heart Association. Following a healthier diet and exercising regularly can help you lose weight and lower your blood pressure. Losing weight can also help prevent prehypertension from turning into high blood pressure.

Pregnancy

Women who have always fallen within the normal range may find that they have high blood pressure levels of 140/90 or more for the first time during pregnancy. This is a sign of preeclampsia, which is also characterized by protein in urine. If you have preeclampsia, your blood pressure generally returns to its normal state after you give birth. Keep in mind that low blood pressure, or levels of 90/60 or less, can also affect pregnant women.

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Birth Control Pill Use

Oral contraceptives can cause higher blood pressure levels for some women. The extent of this is not yet well-researched, however. The risk of increased levels is highest among those who have a family history of high blood pressure or a personal history of preeclampsia or mild kidney disease, according to the American Heart Association. With the help of your doctor, you may determine that there is a birth control method that will be a safer choice for you.

Normal blood pressure for women is possible to achieve, even if your levels are high. Making healthy lifestyle changes and following your doctor's recommendations for treatment can help you keep your blood pressure under control. Consult with a licensed health care provider if you suspect that you may have high blood pressure.

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Reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Monti, MD, MPH

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