As Mother’s Day approaches, we are all reminded just how important mothers are to the joy and well-being of families, communities, and the world, and rightly so! Moms tend to prioritize the needs of their loved ones before their own, but it’s essential to remember that taking care of themselves is just as important as taking care of others. Mothers can enhance their quality of life by prioritizing their own health, especially their heart health. This article focuses on why hypertension is an essential issue that mothers should pay attention to and how to take the necessary steps to manage it.
Why hypertension is a significant issue for mothers
Studies suggest that women* are more likely than men to develop high blood pressure after age 65. Several factors may contribute to why this is. One of the most significant factors is hormonal changes. As women age, their levels of estrogen and progesterone decrease, which can affect the health of blood vessels and increase the risk of hypertension.
Another factor that may contribute to the higher incidence of elevated blood pressure in older women is related to hypertension during pregnancy, which is estimated to affect up to 10% of pregnant women. Women with gestational hypertension or preeclampsia during pregnancy are at increased risk of developing hypertension later in life. This is a major reason why it’s important for pregnant women to receive regular pre-and postnatal care to monitor their blood pressure and manage any potential complications.
Notwithstanding the specific circumstances around pregnancy and menopause, all mothers should consistently prioritize blood pressure management because hypertension is the leading risk factor for life-altering cardiac events like heart attacks and strokes.
Steps mothers can take to prioritize heart health and manage hypertension
At the Heart of a Giant Foundation, our core message is that there are practical steps everyone can take to support their heart health, prevent hypertension, and manage it if it develops.
By making healthy lifestyle choices such as exercising regularly and eating a heart-healthy diet, mothers can empower themselves to protect their health, feel their best and live their lives to the fullest.
In addition, if experiencing symptoms of perimenopause or menopause, it is important to remember that options are available. Talking to a healthcare provider about treatment options is an important step that can prove very helpful in alleviating some of the effects of hormonal changes.
But perhaps stress is one of the most significant factors that impact mothers’ heart health over the short and long term.
Stressors faced by mothers and how to manage them
Mothers face unique challenges, so engaging in stress-reducing activities is vital, seeking support from friends and family and professional help if needed. Here are just some of the factors that can lead to stress for mothers in particular:
Caregiving responsibilities: Mothers often carry the bulk of the responsibility for caring for children and other family members, which can be emotionally and physically taxing.
Work-life balance: Balancing work responsibilities with family commitments can be challenging for mothers, particularly if they do not have adequate support or flexible working arrangements.
Financial pressures: Mothers may feel financial stress if they are the primary breadwinners for their families or face financial challenges, such as paying for childcare or healthcare.
Social isolation: Mothers may feel socially isolated if they do not have strong social networks or struggle to find time for social activities outside of caregiving responsibilities.
Perfectionism: Mothers may feel pressure to be perfect in all areas of their lives, including parenting, work, and personal relationships, which can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety.
Health concerns: Mothers may experience stress related to their own health or the health of family members, particularly if they are dealing with chronic health conditions or serious illnesses.
So what can you do to support the health of the mothers that you love? Here are some ideas.
Practical ways to support the heart health of mothers
Encourage healthy habits: Encourage a mother you love to adopt healthy habits, such as exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep. You can offer to be exercise buddies or prepare healthy meals together.
Provide emotional support: Let a mom who is important to you know that you are there for her and offer emotional support. Listen to her concerns and offer words of encouragement and reassurance.
Offer practical help: If a mom you care about feels overwhelmed with caregiving responsibilities or other tasks, offer practical help! This could include helping with household chores, running errands, or providing childcare.
Plan fun and stress-reducing activities: Help a beloved mom to take a break from her daily responsibilities by planning fun and stress-reducing activities. This could include walking, having a spa day, or planning a fun outing with friends or family.
Educate yourself and others: Learn about the risk factors for heart disease and hypertension, and educate others about the importance of heart health. This can help raise awareness and encourage others to prioritize their own heart health.
Mothers are vital to the health and well-being of their families and communities. Importantly, they must prioritize their health, especially their heart health. By taking the necessary steps to manage hypertension, manage stress, and adopt healthy habits, mothers can ensure that they live full and active lives long after their children are no longer directly dependent on their care. Let’s celebrate mothers this Mother’s Day and every day by encouraging the moms we love to take care of themselves and remember to provide support along the way.
*In the context of this article, the term “women” is taken to mean “cisgender people assigned female at birth.”