When you are thinking about your health issues, it is very important that you have a clear understanding of cause and effect. Of course, it is your doctor’s responsibility to offer a diagnosis and to understand what’s driving your health issues. Where you could potentially get yourself into a quandary is by doing your own self-diagnosis and mistakenly thinking one particular thing is causing a problem.
If you have reached menopause and have suddenly been experiencing issues with high blood pressure, it would be natural for you to conclude that your high blood pressure is being caused by the changes in your body. While that is a possibility, you cannot afford to assume that is the only cause. Making that kind of assumption could lead you to dismiss the possibility you are encountering other health issues that are affecting your blood pressure.
In the following sections, the discussion will focus on the effects of menopause on blood pressure. Additionally, there will be a discussion on other causes of high blood pressure in women and how those issues should be treated.
The Correlation Between Menopause and High Blood Pressure
To be clear, there does seem to be some correlation between menopause and high blood pressure. The question people have in the medical community is “how much can menopause affect a woman’s blood pressure in the long-term?”
There is a long way to go before there can be a definite answer to this question. However, there is surface evidence that menopause could be the source of high blood pressure in one of three ways.
First, a side effect of menopause is the lowering of estrogen levels in a woman’s body. Estrogen is known to play a role in the prevention of plaque buildup in the arterial walls. Additionally, estrogen is known to participate in the prevention of the narrowing in arteries and veins. If a woman were to suddenly experience a lowering of her estrogen levels, something that happens during menopause, it increases the possibility plaque will build up in the arteries and arterial walls could start shrinking. Both of those circumstances would result in the heart having to work harder to push blood through to the body. Hence, high blood pressure becomes a reality.
Second, weight gain is a temporary side effect related to menopause. If a woman were to gain more than a few pounds and maintain those pounds over time, it would certainly create a situation where the heart would have to work harder to support the body. Hence, a woman’s blood pressure is likely to rise.
Finally, stress and anxiety always seem to go hand and hand with menopause. As the female body changes, it causes a lot of physiological disruption. That can be quite unnerving to any woman. As stress and anxiety levels rise, so too does the propensity to have high blood pressure issues.
It all seems to be tied together in a neat little mess with menopause seemingly being the culprit.
Treating the Correlation Between Menopause and High Blood Pressure
If menopause is a direct cause of high blood pressure, it is something of which you should be concerned given you are experiencing blood pressure issues. The first thing you need to do is see your primary care physician or gynecologist. It’s incumbent on them to establish the cause and effect between your menopause and blood pressure issue.
In the meantime, you can have peace of mind knowing this is an issue that is very treatable. It might be as easy as changing your diet and establishing an exercise plan. With that said, medication could certainly help with your blood pressure while hormone therapy (HT) might be an option in your case.
With hormone therapy, your doctor would be targeting the replacement of estrogen in your body. As your estrogen levels start rising again, it stands to reason that your body could reverse the issues that have been causing you to experience high blood pressure.
Other Causes of High Blood Pressure in Women
While it is easy to assume your menopause is the primary reason you are having blood pressure issues, it would be a mistake to dismiss other possibilities. While high blood pressure tends to plague men more than women, women do tend to have more serious issues with high blood pressure.
Below is a list of causes of high blood pressure in women. Yes, many of these causes are also applicable to men. The causes included:
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure in Women
Since women have a tendency to experience extreme issues when high blood pressure issues occur, it seems relevant to point out some of the symptoms a woman might experience. You can use this information as your guide to determine how serious your blood pressure issues might be. Common symptoms include (but are not limited to) :
Should you experience any of these symptoms, you would want to plan an immediate visit to your doctor. These are clear warning signs that everything is not okay.
Treating High Blood Pressure in Women
Women can live long lives after being diagnosed with high blood pressure. The truth is it’s a condition that is far too common. Whether it occurs because of menopause or any of the other aforementioned causes, high blood pressure is very treatable.
As was stated above, combating high blood pressure might be as easy as you making lifestyle changes that include more exercise, better nutrition, and the cessation of bad habits like smoking and drinking.
If lifestyle changes are not enough, your doctor might want to put you on prescription medications. Common classes of blood pressure medication include beta-blockers, diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and calcium channel blockers.
The last frontier might be some counseling. If you can learn how to better manage stress, it could be enough to lower your blood pressure to manageable levels.