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Older women less able to control high blood pressure than men: study

A new study suggests that older women in Canada are less successful than older men at controlling high blood pressure.

One of the authors of the report admits the finding is startling, given that typically women are better at taking care of their health than men.

Dr. Norm Campbell is an internal medicine professor at the University of Calgary who has done a lot of work over the years on high blood pressure or hypertension as it is called by the medical profession.

He says he was shocked when he saw the data, drawn from the 2009-2010 cycle of the Canadian Health Measures Survey.

Despite the fact that an equal percentage took the prescribed medications, about 30 per cent of women didn’t have their hypertension under control, compared to 17 per cent of men.

Campbell and his co-authors couldn’t find an explanation for the difference, ruling out factors like socio-economic standing, overall health status, type of medication used and differences in body mass index.

He says family doctors and women with high blood pressure should be aware of this fact and move quickly when blood pressure control appears to be slipping.

He suggests women may need additional medication, though he notes that things like losing weight, cutting back on salt intake and exercising more may be better at addressing the underlying problem.

The study is published in the October issue of Statistics Canada’s journal Health Reports.