Renowned Women’s Health Expert and 2022 American Heart Association Physician of the Year Jennifer Mieres Discusses the Link Between Chronic Stress, High Blood Pressure and Stroke. She says as we focus on women’s health, the American Heart Association, the American Stroke Association would like women to know that the evidence points to a link between chronic stress and a higher risk for high blood pressure, therefore a higher risk for a stroke as well as heart disease. So, definitely a link with chronic stress and increase risk for stroke in women, she says we now know that women who have had pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, eclampsia, preeclampsia, blood clots during pregnancy, have significantly increased risk of having a stroke as well as heart disease in the short term as well as long-term and importantly these women when you go see your doctor for a heart screening or for your yearly checkup, talking about your pregnancy complications if you have them, truly important in preventing stroke and controlling blood pressure.
Dr. Mieres says we know that each woman is unique, and generally speaking, knowing your family history of heart disease, of stroke, of risk factors of hypertension are definitely important but what we have seen is that the evidence points to a higher prevalence of pregnancy related complications in black African-American women, a higher instance of hypertension in pregnancy of diabetes , of eclampsia, preeclampsia and we also know therefore a higher risk of hypertension post pregnancy, higher risk of stroke in black African-American women. She says the American Heart Association, the American Stroke Association would like women to know that most strokes are preventable and simple lifestyle changes can have a significant impact and as it relates to chronic stress, taking as little as ten minutes of me time where women can meditate, can laugh, can exercise, whether it is walking or swimming, jogging, meditating, doing yoga can have a profound impact reducing your blood pressure. She says we also want women to know your numbers, I always say keep a log book, know your blood pressure, know your blood sugar, know your cholesterol, and your body mass index. Take that information in with you to discuss your risk of heart disease and stroke with your doctor.