Birth Control and High Blood Pressure: A Summary
is a measure of the pressure inside your blood vessels. Thus, high blood pressure
is when the pressure within your blood vessels is too high. This is also known as hypertension
. More than 65 million American adults -- 1 in 3 -- have high blood pressure. High blood pressure:
- Makes the heart work too hard
- Hardens the walls of arteries
- Can cause the brain to hemorrhage or the kidneys to function poorly or not at all.
There are two pressures measured for blood pressure -- pressure while the heart is beating (known as systolic pressure) and pressure while it is relaxed (known as diastolic pressure). Women taking birth control pills
may experience an increase in both systolic blood pressure
and diastolic blood pressure
. Normally this increase in blood pressure with birth control pills is within the normal range.
Know the Risk Factors Concerning Birth Control and High Blood Pressure
scientists do not know why birth control pills increase blood pressure in some women. However, they do know certain factors increase a woman's chances of having high blood pressure while on the pill. These risk factors include:
- Being on birth control pills for longer periods of time
- Women over the age of 35
- Women who smoke
- Pills higher in estrogen.