Massage therapy, with its stress-relieving and relaxing benefits, is a natural way to address high blood pressure.

New research indicates that gender differences in blood pressure appears as early as adolescence and that obesity has a greater impact on girls’ blood pressure than it does on boys’.

In a study of more than 1,700 adolescents between 13 and 17 years old, obese boys were three-and-a-half times more likely to develop elevated systolic blood pressure (SBP) than non-obese boys, but similarly obese girls were nine times more likely to develop elevated systolic blood pressure than their non-obese peers, according to a press release from the American Physiological Society.

Systolic blood pressure, which is represented by the top number in a blood pressure reading, is the amount of force that blood exerts on blood vessel walls when the heart beats. High systolic measurements indicate risk for heart disease and stroke.

The research was presented earlier this month at The Physiology of Cardiovascular Disease: Gender Disparities conference, sponsored by the American Physiological Society.

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