I’m just throwing ideas out there.
The study authors concluded that there was “one main implication” of their findings for clinical practice: “Blood pressure in women may be regulated in a safer way, such as using other medications and, of course, through diet and exercise.”
That suggestion, “through diet and exercise,” particularly caught my attention, because it reminded me of something infuriating I remembered reading about in the course of my research for IW:
Even something as basic as advice on how to exercise to keep disease at bay is based on male-biased research. If you run a general search for whether resistance training is good for reducing heart disease, you’ll come across a series of papers warning against resistance training if you have high blood pressure. This is in large part because of the concerns that it doesn’t have as beneficial an effect on lowering blood pressure as aerobic exercise, and also because it causes an increase in artery stiffness.
Which is all true. In men. Who, as ever, form the majority of research participants. The research that has been done on women suggests that this advice is not gender-neutral. A 2008 paper, for example, found that not only does resistance training lower blood pressure to a greater extent in women, women don’t suffer from the same increase in artery stiffness. And this matters, because as women get older, their blood pressure gets higher compared to men of the same age, and elevated blood pressure is more directly linked to cardiovascular mortality in women than in men. In fact, the risk of death from coronary artery disease for women is twice that for men for every 20 mm Hg increase in blood pressure above normal levels. It also matters because commonly used antihypertensive drugs have been shown to be less beneficial in lowering blood pressure in women than in men.
So to sum up: for women, the blood-pressure drugs (developed using male subjects) don’t work as effectively, but resistance training just might do the trick. Except we haven’t known that because all the studies have been done on men. And this is before we account for the benefits to women in doing resistance training to counteract osteopenia and osteoporosis, both of which they are at high risk for post-menopause. (IW, pp.210-11)