Family history means a lot of things to Lori Lehnhard.
“I have several people in my family, my dad and aunts, that have high blood pressure,” said Lori Lehnhard, has hypertension.
So she knew it was important to get herself tested.
“When you check your blood pressure you’re checking for relaxation as well as the tenseness of your arteries in circulation. And when you have high blood pressure it has been shown to lead to increase risk of stoke, and heart attack, and even death,” says Dr. Elizabeth Cosmi- Cintron, cardiologist on Lee Memorial Health System medical staff.
It came as no surprise when her doctor diagnosed her with hypertension. Early enough that she could treat it and hopefully avoid trouble.
“She told me that I should work out, try to watch my diet and eat certain foods. And they went ahead and put me on a beta blocker which controls blood pressure,” says Lehnhard.
Sometimes associated with men and their boiling point- high blood pressure is genderless. Women actually have life stages where they top men.
Birth control may increase blood pressure, especially if a woman is overweight and a smoker. And high blood pressure affects 6-8% of pregnancies, and is dangerous if untreated. Age is another factor. Up to about age 60, women are less likely to have high blood pressure than men. After that, blood pressure in women rises more sharply than it does in men. Hormones may be a part of the reason.
“By age 60 men and women start to have similar risk of heart disease. And most women may not even realize they’re at risk for heart disease until they’re told by their physician,” says Dr. Cosmi-Cintron.
“I have 2 children and work, so I didn’t realize anything was wrong with me,” says Lehnhard.
But she can thank her family for putting her on the right track. Detecting a health condition before it caught up with her.