TODAY   |  February 07, 2014

Stand up for women’s heart health

Dr. Tara Narula, a cardiologist, joins TODAY to offer surprising new information about women and blood pressure.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> back now at 8:42. as we mentioned, today is national wear red day . a day to raise heart awareness for women . and there's surprising information when it comes to women and blood pressure . and we have heart healthy advice for us this morning. dr. norella good morning.

>> good morning.

>> all here. you're going to participate and get your blood pressure taken here in a moment. let me get to important information we learned about yesterday. the american heart association came out with important facts for women to know about when it comes to heart disease and to be aware of high blood pressure . what should we know?

>> these new stroke guidelines presented. it's really great they came out during heart month. they emphasize the fact that heart and cardiovascular disease is not just about heart disease but the vessel to the brain and stroke. stroke is the third leading cause of death for women in this country. it affects more women than men. the guidelines emphasize that high blood pressure is the most easily reversible risk factor for stroke. and women over 75 are at higher risk, women over 55. the older you get, the more likely you are to develop hypertension.

>> and women have to be concerned with it years later, as well.

>> that's right. there are specific conditions like childbirth and hormonal status that can increase your risk of stroke.

>> let's get to our ladies here. and as we start with the nurses here helping us take our blood pressure . you feeling calm, savannah?

>> yes. very zen.

>> you're very zen right now.

>> how do we know we're in range?

>> so normal blood pressure is less than 120 over 80.

>> how often should women be checking their blood pressure ?

>> the american heart association recommends at least once a year over the age of 20.

>> is it hard to check while we're talking?

>> am i alive?

>> sorry.

>> what do we get for savannah. 102/70.

>> how is that? good?

>> perfect.

>> i got an "a."

>> i would imagine lindsey vonn is an athlete, you have to have the lowest.

>> 102/70.

>> we're the same!

>> little competition here.

>> wow.

>> what about giada?

>> 108/64.

>> 108/64.

>> the chef is the calmest of the bunch.

>> sorry.

>> what does that number tell us?

>> so basically, it tells us whether somebody has high blood pressure or not. usually the cutoff is a number greater than 140 or greater than 90 for the bottom number.

>> what else should we be aware of in order to stay heart healthy?

>> great tips are make exercise part of your life. the american heart association suggests 150 minutes of moderate exercise over the course of a week. stand up, we know that people who sit more --

>> stand up.

>> you may have a lower life expectancy .

>> lindsey just asked for a rematch. very competitive.

>> a competitor here. i know.

>> and make food medicine. we recommend eating 4 to 5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day. if you eat a smoothie, you can get it all in at once and it tastes delicious.

>> i had something i wanted to say. the orange room has gone red and so have you at home. thank you for sending all of our pictures to go red today. keep them coming all day long and let's talk about the importance of women 's heart health.

>> all right. we proved our ladies here are all within range, all very healthy. i've got to check mine now. thank you, ladies. and thanks so much, doctor. thanks to our nurses, as well, for helping us with this.