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High blood pressure more dangerous for women than men

Thursday - 1/2/2014, 12:27pm  ET

WASHINGTON - High blood pressure may be more dangerous for women than for men, new research suggests.

Women can experience 30 to 40 percent more vascular disease than men with the same elevated, untreated blood pressure readings, scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have found.

A study published in Therapeutic Advances in Cardiovascular Disease also found significant differences in the types and levels of hormones regulating blood pressure in women.

"The medical community thought that high blood pressure was the same for both sexes and treatment was based on that premise," said Carlos Ferrario, M.D., professor of surgery at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, in a news release.

"We need to evaluate new protocols - what drugs, in what combination and in what dosage - to treat women with high blood pressure," he says.

The American Heart Association calls high blood pressure the "silent killer." Untreated, it can damage a person's heart, brain, eyes and kidneys before the person notices any symptoms.

The only way a person can tell if they have high blood pressure is to have it checked by a professional. The Mayo Clinic has found blood pressure machines in grocery stores and drugstores aren't accurate enough to be the basis for health decisions.

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