Women face unique risks for high blood pressure and stroke

blood pressure

Women have a lot on their plates, and sometimes important self-care can take a back seat to work, family and other obligations. In fact, nearly 50% of adult women have high blood pressure, and nearly three-quarters of those with high blood pressure don’t have it under control. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can significantly increase a woman’s risk for a stroke, but a few important steps can help reduce that risk and give women (and their loved ones) one less thing to worry about.

“High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke and we know that one in five women will have a stroke and stroke kills more women than breast cancer,” according to Dr. Monik Jiménez, a volunteer with the American Heart Association / American Stroke Association and associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and assistant professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“While high blood pressure isn’t directly linked to gender, different health issues throughout a woman’s life, such as birth control, pregnancy, and menopause, can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of stroke if left uncontrolled,” according to Jiménez.

Doctors and researchers have found a link between birth control pills and an increase in blood pressure among some women. They say that it is more likely to occur in women who are already overweight, have kidney disease or have a family history of high blood pressure. A combination of birth control pills and smoking can be very dangerous to women and is not recommended.

A woman’s health during pregnancy can be a preview of her health in the future. Women who had high blood pressure during pregnancy are at an increased risk for developing high blood pressure and having a stroke later in life.

The physical changes associated with menopause also increase a woman’s risk of developing high blood pressure.

Of note, women of Black and Hispanic ethnicity may develop high blood pressure at a younger age and have a higher average blood pressure than other racial groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fortunately, 80% of strokes may be prevented and lowering high blood pressures reduces stroke risk. Women can measure their blood pressure at home regularly and let their doctors know if it’s normally above 120/80. In addition, lifestyle adjustments such as getting enough exercise, eating healthfully, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking can go a long way to reduce women’s disease risk from high blood pressure.

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That Face! DWTS’ Witney Carson Reveals 1st Photo of Son Kevin Leo

Meaningful moniker! Witney Carson shared her newborn son’s name, Kevin Leo McAllister, three days after she welcomed him into the world with husband Carson McAllister.

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The Dancing With the Stars pro, 27, posted the first photo of her baby’s face on Wednesday, January 6, and revealed that he is named Kevin Leo to honor her late father-in-law, Kevin McCallister.

“Named after his grandpa who sent him down to us,” she captioned an Instagram snap of the newborn with a wooden name plaque with his middle name written on it. “Born on Jan. 3rd 2021 ✨ 7lbs. 2oz. 21” long!”

The So You Think You Can Dance alum added: “My little Leo, I love you more than words can express. You are the most precious gift. My life will forever be changed by your sweet spirit. Welcome to the world Leo 🦁.”

Carson’s father died in March 2018 after battling cancer for two years. Following his passing, the dancer paid tribute to her late father-in-law, noting how hard it would be to one day have children who would not know their grandfather.

DWTS’ Pregnant Witney Carson’s Baby Bump Photos

“Although it will be excruciatingly painful at times to live without him, we know he lives on around us being our guardian angel wherever we go,” she captioned a black-and-white photo of the couple with her late father-in-law at the time. “It’s hard not to think, why does my husband have to live without his dad? Why do my kids not ever get to know their Poppy? & then I remember the Plan of Salvation, to know we will see him again … and that gives me peace.”

The Utah native continued: “I know Kevin is getting our kids ready to come down to meet us — he’s probably spinning them around on the floor right now, over and over again until they cry of laughter! We know you’ll be there when we can’t see you or hold you — lift us up when we have moments of trouble and heartache. Our guardian angel. We love you Kev.”

The new mom announced the arrival of Kevin Leo on Monday, January 4, after having an “unexpected C-section” and 24-hour labor.

“We are all healthy and well,” she wrote alongside a photo of her and Carson’s hands holding their son’s fingers. “We are so grateful & we’ve been soaking up every moment with our perfect angel boy. Thank you for all the prayers!”

The professional dancer shared a video from the first 24 hours with the couple’s baby, including footage from the hospital and Carson holding Kevin Leo shortly after his birth.

Celebrity Couples Who Are High School Sweethearts

“Everyone tells you how special bringing life into this world is but you never know exactly what they mean until it happens to you. 😭,” she captioned the Instagram video on Tuesday, January 5. “This is my whole entire world.”

The new parents announced in July 2020 that they were expecting their first child together. The high school sweethearts, who started dating their senior year, tied the knot in January 2016, after a three-month engagement.

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Researchers find face masks don’t hinder breathing during exercise

A new University of Saskatchewan (USask) study has found that exercise performance and blood and muscle oxygen levels are not affected for healthy individuals wearing a face mask during strenuous workouts.

Questions have been raised as to whether mask wearing during vigorous exercise might compromise oxygen uptake or increase the rebreathing of carbon dioxide, leading to a condition (hypercapnic hypoxia) whereby increased carbon dioxide displaces oxygen in the blood.

But the study, published Nov. 3 in the research journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, did not find evidence to support these concerns.

“Our findings are of importance because they indicate that people can wear face masks during intense exercise with no detrimental effects on performance and minimal impact on blood and muscle oxygenation,” the researchers state.

“This is important when fitness centers open up during COVID-19 since respiratory droplets may be propelled further with heavy breathing during vigorous exercise and because of reports of COVID-19 clusters in crowded enclosed exercise facilities.”

The study evaluated use of a three-layer cloth face mask—the type recommended recently by Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer. “Results using a single-layer cloth mask may differ,” the researchers note.

The study, involving 14 physically active and healthy men and women, controlled for the effects of diet, previous physical activity, and sleep during the 24 hours prior to the test.

“If people wear face masks during indoor exercise, it might make the sessions safer and allow gyms to stay open during COVID,” said Phil Chilibeck, a professor in the USask College of Kinesiology, who was a co-author of the study. “It might also allow sports to continue, including hockey, where transmission of COVID-19 appears to be high.”

Participants were required to do a brief warm-up on a stationary bike. The exercise test involved a progressive increase in the intensity on the bike while they maintained a required pedal rate. Once they could not sustain the pedal rate the test was over.

“Usually a participant reaches exhaustion on this test in six to 12 minutes depending on their fitness level,” said Chilibeck.

The team assessed the participants, who did the test three times each, once wearing a surgical face mask, once wearing a cloth face mask and once with no face mask. The team recorded the participants’ blood oxygen levels and muscle oxygen levels throughout the test using non-invasive measurement tools.

Chilibeck notes the study is timely, as Saskatchewan has recently issued new public health orders that go into effect this week making masks mandatory in indoor public spaces in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

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Face masks mandatory in northeast Spain amid virus uptick

Authorities in northeast Spain will start fining individuals who do not wear face masks 100 euros ($113) starting Thursday when the use of masks becomes mandatory in Barcelona and the surrounding Catalonia region following a resurgence of the coronavirus.

Spain ended a nationwide lockdown in mid-June after restrictions on movement and public activity succeeded in reining in the country’s virus outbreak after it had pushed the healthcare system to the breaking point and killed thousands of people.

But with most restrictions lifted and some people not following social-distancing rules, the number of confirmed new cases reported daily in Spain has begun to creep up. Confirmed cases doubled between Tuesday and Wednesday amid dozens of small outbreaks.

The biggest increase was in the Catalonia region, with 52 new confirmed cases in a 24-hour period and nearly 2,000 in the past two weeks.

A number of the 500 recent confirmed cases in a rural county around the city of Lleida have been tied to the summer fruit harvest, which draws in migrant day laborers who often work and live in poor conditions. Regional authorities locked down the area on Saturday and have linked 11 of 15 outbreaks there to farm work.

Health authorities warn that the area’s hospitals are already filling up. An inflatable emergency ward has been installed at the gates of a local hospital, a grim reminder of the makeshift medical facilities and morgues set up in Spain when it was among the world’s leading virus hot spots in the spring.

“We are not saturated now, but we could be in the next few days if we don’t reinforce our medical staff and start transferring patients,” regional health official Ramón Sentís said Wednesday.

Masks are mandatory in shared indoor spaces and also outdoors when distance can’t be maintained throughout Spain. Catalonia, which has a population of 7.5 million, is the first region to extend the requirement to situations when people are able to remain 1.5 meters (5 feet) from one another.

The move comes after a notable drop in face mask use in the streets and adherence to social distancing rules.

A county in the northwest Galicia region that is home to 71,000 residents also has been closed off, while masks are now mandatory in a town in the central north Basque Country region. Both Galicia and the Basque Country have regional elections scheduled for Sunday.



The uptick in cases comes as Spain is hoping to salvage its critical tourism industry by encouraging Spaniards to take vacations inside the country and sending the message to foreigners that Spain is a safe place to visit despite the pandemic. Spain had a pandemic death toll of more than 28,390 as of Wednesday.

Neighboring Portugal, which had done well in controlling the virus, is also concerned about an increase in new virus cases in the capital of Lisbon.

Portugal’s Health Ministry on Wednesday reported 443 new cases, 74% of them in the Lisbon metropolitan area.

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Finally! You Can Get Adult & Kids Face Masks at Old Navy

Unless you’ve been lucky enough to have sewing skills and spare breathable fabric lying around the house, you might be in the same boat as so many of us, still struggling to find good masks for our children and ourselves. Today we have good news for you: Old Navy has is now selling super cute, stylish kids masks and adult masks, at rather incredible prices.

The masks are in the kind of preppy and preppy prints Old Navy has always used for its shorts and pajamas. There are plaids, checks, paisleys, anchors, tropical motifs, stripes, polka dots, and the occasional Warhol-esque banana. You can’t choose, however. The kids masks and adult masks are sold in “surprise packs” of five for $12.50.

All the masks are three-ply 100 percent cotton, with elastic over-ear straps.

There is a catch here. As hospitals have known long before us, it’s pretty difficult to get something — even something as simply designed as a reusable cloth mask — into production very quickly, especially when we’re in the midst of a pandemic. So even Old Navy’s factories aren’t able to get us instant gratification here. These masks have only been available for pre-order since 5 a.m. ET Friday, are selling so fast that they the estimated shipping date is May 27 as of this writing. Get your orders in soon!

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Still mask shopping? Most of these kids masks are available right now.






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