Can Menopause Cause High Blood Pressure
Its really common to have high blood pressure the condition also known as hypertension where your blood moves around your body with too much force as you get older. But does that mean that its linked to the aging process? And, for women, can menopause cause high blood pressure?
Turns out, its not quite as simple as that, but lets take a look.
In this article:
- What should your blood pressure be?
- Can menopause cause your blood pressure to rise?
- Why might menopause cause high blood pressure?
- What are the symptoms of high blood pressure in a woman?
Determinants Of Perimenopausal Symptoms
Symptoms of vasomotor dysfunction occur in 50 to 70% of women in the menopausal transition period and are directly related to the decline in endogenous oestrogen production. It is assumed that these hormonal changes affect the levels of the neuro-transmitters norepinephrine and serotonin which interfere with the thermoregulation in the hypothalamus. Other general symptoms that are commonly reported are night sweating, mood changes, concentration disturbances, palpitations, fatigue, headache, anxiety etc. Besides specific urogenital symptoms that are related to lower oestrogen levels, it is uncertain whether all the complaints that women may have during their menopausal transition period are caused by hormonal changes. From several surveys it is known that important determinants of perimenopausal symptoms are lower socioeconomic class, racial differences, smoking, overweight, higher alcohol intake and reduced physical fitness. Although many of these factors are also important in the development of hypertension, data on the relation of hypertension with hot flushes are relatively scarce. Treatment with an angiotensin II-antagonist has been shown to reduce perimenopausal symptoms in women with hypertension. Further, women with hot flush symptoms have more serum metabolites of cerebral norepinephrine than women without these symptoms, indicating an increase in sympathetic activity.
Preventing High Blood Pressure Caused Due To Menopause
While it is clear that menopause can cause high blood pressure, there are ways to prevent it and manage the condition effectively. Women suffering from high blood pressure during menopause, need to take the necessary precautions. As menopause is a great risk factor for high blood pressure, it is important to take measures to control the hormone changes during menopause. Managing menopause with proper diet, exercise and lifestyle measures can help to prevent high blood pressure and related problems to a great extent.
Final Thought on High Blood Pressure Caused by Menopause
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New Directions In Treatment
There was a time when doctors recommended their patients try reducing blood pressure with lifestyle approaches for six months, before starting medication. “By the time all that was done it would be a year, potentially, before the blood pressure was under control. That was definitely the wrong approach,” Dr. Bhatt says. “Blood pressure therapy has changed in the last decade or so, in terms of our being more aggressive about bringing it down.”
Here are a few general guidelines for taming high blood pressure:
Your doctor will consider prescribing medicines if your blood pressure is 140/90 or higherthe threshold for high blood pressure.
Which drug your doctor recommends will depend on several factors, including what other health conditions you have .
You’ll begin by taking the lowest effective dose of medicine. The doctor will increase the dose if your blood pressure isn’t responding.
Finding the right blood pressure treatment is often a matter of trial and error. If one drug isn’t working or is causing side effects, don’t just stop taking it. See your doctor for a re-evaluation. “There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. There’s a lot of science, some of it new, and a fair amount of art to treating high blood pressure,” says Dr. Bhatt.
Hypertension Symptoms In Women Often Mistaken For Menopause
Sophia Antipolis, 27 January 2021: Pregnancy complications and early menopause increase womens future risk of heart disease. Cardiologists, gynaecologists and endocrinologists recommend how to help middle-aged women prevent later heart problems in a European Society of Cardiology consensus document published today in European Heart Journal, a journal of the ESC.1
Physicians should intensify the detection of hypertension in middle-aged women, states the document. Up to 50% of women develop high blood pressure before the age of 60 but the symptoms for example hot flushes and palpitations are often attributed to menopause.
High blood pressure is called hypertension in men but in women it is often mistakenly labelled as stress or menopausal symptoms, said first author Professor Angela Maas, director of the Womens Cardiac Health Programme, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. We know that blood pressure is treated less well in women compared to men, putting them at risk for atrial fibrillation, heart failure and stroke which could have been avoided.
A womans life provides clues that you need to start early with prevention, said Professor Maas. We have to assess female patients differently to men, and not just ask about high cholesterol. This will enable us to classify middle-aged women as high-risk or lower risk for cardiovascular disease.
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Don’t Wait For Symptoms Know Your Blood Pressure Numbers And What They Mean
Once you do get your blood pressure checked, it’s important to know what your current numbers mean:
- Normal blood pressure: Lower than 120/80 mmHg
- Elevated blood pressure: Between 120-129/< 80 mmHg
- Hypertension, stage 1: Between 130-139/80-< 90 mmHg
- Hypertension, stage 2: 140/90 mmHg or higher
“If your blood pressure is elevated, this is when we start to worry about it progressing into high blood pressure,” says Dr. Patel. “The higher your blood pressure gets, the harder it becomes to control and the more likely you are to experience complications so the earlier it’s diagnosed and managed, the better.”
High Blood Pressure And Peri Menopause
I have suddenly this week been suffering from bad headaches, on Friday I decided to visit my hospital to check my bp, to my surprise my BP was 160/91, doctors gave me some tablets. Took it and later it went down, my BP was down all the next day, today I check it again it’s gone up, with headaches. Doctor gave me more tablets and sent home to rest.
im wondering why my BP would be so high and also if it’s because of the menopause or stress which I’ve had a lot from the past few years.
0 likes, 14 replies
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Implications And Future Research
Women should be prescribed MHT for as short a time as possible and their cardiovascular health, specifically blood pressure, should be closely monitored both during and after therapy. How endothelial dysfunction is associated with menopausal symptoms and the effect of MHT on the vascular system remains to be investigated. A clinical trial of MHT, which includes an extended period of follow up after cessation of treatment, is required to decipher how MHT treatment leads to higher odds of having high blood pressure. Such a trial should initiate MHT close to menopause and only include women who have never used MHT previously.
Stress Less Recover More
Being stressed once in a while can be okay. But being stressed for days on end is a different story. Chronic stress is the mother root of many diseases. Stress is actually one of the main causes of high blood pressure in women. As we go through menopause, our bodies face different kinds of stress. We undergo mental stress when we feel overwhelmed by the various events in our life. Most often, this kind of stress causes physical and psychological changes. Some physical symptoms of stress include headaches, upset stomach and increased heart rate and BP. Psychological or emotional symptoms are anxiety, low self-esteem and depression. Have you noticed these changes?
Constant and prolonged stress doesnt give your body enough time to recover. Imagine being in a boxing match with lifes many stressors. Thats about 12 rounds of non-stop fight-or-flight mode, always deciding whether to fight or to defend. The body does not give up easily! It will work with each blow and fight stress by releasing cortisol and adrenaline rapidly. While your body wants the best for you, these hormones can cause more harm than good. They will pump up all your body processes, including your blood pressure. Eventually, your body will get exhausted from working too much and a series of ills could result from this, such as heart attacks, kidney problems and other grave conditions.
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Risk Factors For High Blood Pressure
As they say, there are things out of our control, and they may increase our risks for certain diseases. Here are some known risks for obtaining high blood pressure:
- Poor nutrition
- Weak kidneys
- Drugs such as appetite suppressants, birth control pills, corticosteroids, HRT, and NSAIDs
Despite these risks, there are many ways to prevent high blood pressure by taking control of our health as early as now.
Check Your Blood Pressure Regularly
With so many digital blood pressure devices out there, checking your BP is easier than ever. Home monitoring allows you to keep tabs on your BP and alert you of potential health problems. Remember the blood pressure ranges we mentioned earlier? Keep those in mind when checking your BP!
I personally have my own BP device at home, and I check my BP every week.
I actually want to buy another one that connects to my Apple Watch and iPhone! This one is on my shopping list:
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If Hypertension Runs In The Family Know That While There Are Some Genetic Aspects That Can Affect Your Blood Pressure Hypertension Is Usually Lifestyle
You learn the same habits as your parents and tend to eat the same way. You are similarly sedentary and react to stressors in the same unhealthy way.
Lifestyle choices make a huge difference in how youre going to age. If youre a younger woman, this is the time to get in shape and really focus on your cardiovascular health. Exercise is key to bringing that blood pressure down. Its never too late to start living a healthy lifestyle, even in midlife. You can lower your risk for diseases like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes by getting in shape. So the sooner you start being proactive with your health, the better.
Estrogen Drops And Your Body Responds
High blood presure When estrogen levels drop, your heart and blood vessels become stiff and less elastic. Because of these changes, your blood pressure tends to rise, causing hypertension. Elevated blood pressure can place added strain on the heart, says JoAnne Foody, MD, medical director of the cardiovascular wellness program at Brigham and Womens Hospital and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
High cholesterol Lack of estrogen can also cause detrimental changes in your cholesterol and blood fats: Your good cholesterol may go down, and your bad cholesterol may go up, which increases your risks of heart attack and dying from heart disease, says Dr. Foody. Triglycerides, another kind of fat in the blood, also increase becasue of the drop in estrogen.
Diabetes When women go through menopause, they can also become more resistant to insulin, the hormone needed to convert blood sugar and starches into energy for cells to use. As a result, women are more likely to become prediabetic and diabetic as they transition from premenopause to menopause, explains Foody. Having diabetes puts you at a higher risk for heart disease and stroke.
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How Does The Menopause Impact Your Heart Health
The role of oestrogen isnt just limited to female reproductive health it has countless other responsibilities throughout the body, supporting bone, brain, skin, blood vessels and heart health . So, when oestrogen drops as it begins to do in the perimenopause naturally, there will be an impact on your heart and cardiovascular system.
Why Does The Menopause Cause High Blood Pressure
Your body goes through some major changes during the menopause, and as a result you may experience a range of unexpected symptoms, such as high blood pressure. The connection between the menopause and high blood pressure is not yet fully understood. However, recent research identifies that oestrogen prevents a build-up of plaque in the arterial walls. It also helps to prevent narrowing of the arteries and hence resistance to blood flow. Thus, reduced levels of oestrogen as you go through the menopause puts the arteries under more pressure, making you more susceptible to heart problems.
In addition, women find that they have a tendency to gain weight during the menopause. This can also have an effect on your blood pressure reading. Carrying that little extra weight puts more strain on your arteries, making you more prone to high blood pressure.
Stress and anxiety are common symptoms of the menopause which can also negatively impact on your blood pressure. Keeping stress in check will not only make you feel better, but also reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure.
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Living With High Blood Pressure
Living with high blood pressure over time puts added strain on your blood vessels and on your heart. The added force of blood surging through your arteries damages the artery walls and encourages the formation of cholesterol-filled plaques. These plaques can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
High blood pressure also forces your heart to work harder to pump blood throughout your body. As it works harder and harder, the heart muscle can become stiff and enlarged or weakened. Over time, the heart cannot do an adequate job of circulating blood. This is called heart failure. “The risk of heart failure is markedly increased if the blood pressure is left unchecked over many years,” Dr. Bhatt says. “The heart doesn’t pump as effectively from years of trying to pump against very high pressure.”
Beyond stroke and heart failure, having long-term high blood pressure can also contribute to dementia, kidney failure, vision problems , and sexual dysfunction.
Because high blood pressure is a condition that can sneak up on you without symptoms, having your pressure checked regularly is essential. Dr. Bhatt recommends getting your blood pressure tested at your doctor’s office once a yeareven if you’re feeling fine. Some people purchase a home blood pressure monitor to keep an eye on their blood pressure. If you decide to do this, have the monitor calibrated at your doctor’s office before using it.
High Blood Pressure A Silent Danger In Postmenopausal Women
Millions of American women have soaring blood pressure that’s putting their health at serious risk. Are you among them?
Millions of Americans are harboring a secret. That secret is high blood pressurean often silent, symptomless condition that can damage our blood vessels and overwork our heart, leaving us prey to heart disease, stroke, and premature death.
A report released in September 2012 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly a third of American adults have high blood pressure, and half of these don’t have their high blood pressure under controleven when they are under a doctor’s care and have health insurance. Forty percent of people with uncontrolled high blood pressure don’t know they have the condition.
“Part of the problem is there is a time when people are feeling great, yet their blood pressure is elevated and taking its toll on their blood vessels and they don’t realize it,” says Dr. Deepak Bhatt, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and director of the Integrated Interventional Cardiovascular Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
“Blood pressure is really a tricky disease,” he adds. “The risk of developing high blood pressure over a lifetime is extremely high if a person lives long enough.” That’s especially true in women after menopause, when blood pressure may rise. By the time they reach their 60s and 70s, 70% of women have high blood pressure. After age 75, that figure rises to nearly 80%, according to the CDC.
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How To Measure Blood Pressure At Home
The American Heart Association recommends home monitoring for all people with high blood pressure to help the healthcare provider determine whether treatments are working.
Home monitoring is not a substitute for regular visits to your health care professional but can be very useful in managing high blood pressure.
Can The Menopause Cause High Blood Pressure
When oestrogen starts to dip in perimenopause, your blood vessels and heart can become stiffer and less pliable. Consequently, your blood pressure may spike and lead to hypertension . 3 Research indicates that high blood pressure in postmenopausal woman is more than twice that in pre-menopausal women.4 It should be noted that hypertension is a significant risk factor in the development of heart disease in women.
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Hot Flashes During Perimenopause
Most women don’t expect to have hot flashes until , so it can be a big surprise when they show up earlier, during perimenopause. Hot flashes sometimes called hot flushes and given the scientific name of vasomotor symptoms are the most commonly reported symptom of perimenopause. They’re also a regular feature of sudden menopause due to surgery or treatment with certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs.
Hot flashes tend to come on rapidly and can last from one to five minutes. They range in severity from a fleeting sense of warmth to a feeling of being consumed by fire “from the inside out.” A major hot flash can induce facial and upper-body flushing, sweating, chills, and sometimes confusion. Having one of these at an inconvenient time can be quite disconcerting. Hot flash frequency varies widely. Some women have a few over the course of a week others may experience 10 or more in the daytime, plus some at night.
Most American women have hot flashes around the time of menopause, but studies of other cultures suggest this experience is not universal. Far fewer Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian women report having hot flashes. In Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, women appear not to have any at all. These differences may reflect cultural variations in perceptions, semantics, and lifestyle factors, such as diet.