Hot Flashes In Women Tied To Higher Blood Pressure
WEDNESDAY, April 11 — Hot flashes in women are linked with high blood pressure, says a new study that may be the first to identify this association.
The study of 154 women — ages 18 to 65 with a mean age of 46 — found that the 51 women who reported having hot flashes had an age-adjusted mean systolic awake blood pressure of 141 and a mean systolic sleep blood pressure of 129, compared to 132 and 119, respectively, among women without hot flashes.
“One third of the women we studied reported having hot flashes within the past two weeks. Among these women, systolic blood pressure was significantly higher — even after adjusting for whether they were premenopausal, menopausal or postmenopausal,” senior author Dr. Linda Gerber, professor of public health and medicine, and director of the biostatistics and research methodology core at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, said in a prepared statement.
“Future research will help us better understand the mechanisms underlying this relationship and may help to identify potential interventions that would reduce the impact of hot flashes on blood pressure,” Gerber said.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, which accounts for half of all deaths among American women age 50 and older. Previous research has linked menopause to high blood pressure.
The study was published in the March/April issue of the journal Menopause.
How Do Menopausal Hormone Changes Affect The Circulatory System
In the years preceding menopause, the bodyâs estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone production decreases. This has numerous effects on the bloodstream as estrogen and progesterone imbalances can cause blood vessels to expand and constrict sporadically, thus triggering headaches. Decreased estrogen and testosterone levels also hinder the bodyâs ability to metabolize sodium, which can in turn lead to high blood pressure .
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The Protective Effects Of Estrogen
During a womans reproductive life she is indeed at a lower overall risk of developing high blood pressure because of the protective effects of estrogen. Estrogen acts through many different mechanisms to help keep the blood vessels flexible and to modulate other hormone activities that can contribute to developing high blood pressure. Since women of reproductive age have generally high levels of estrogen, they enjoy a fairly broad level of protection from high blood pressure.
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Mayo Clinic Q And A: Hot Flashes And Heart Disease
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Im 50 years old and recently started having menopause symptoms, including a lot of hot flashes. Is it true that frequent hot flashes could be a sign of heart disease? Should I see my health care provider to get my heart checked?
ANSWER: A direct association between hot flashes and heart disease hasnt been found. However, research suggests that women who have hot flashes may be at a higher risk of having heart problems in the future than women who dont have them. It would be a good idea for you to talk with your health care provider about your hot flashes and assess your risk for heart disease overall.
Hot flashes sudden feelings of warmth, often over your face, neck and chest are a common menopause symptom. The exact cause of hot flashes during the transition into menopause isnt clear. They seem to be related to changes in reproductive hormones and the way your body responds to slight variations in temperature.
Its important to keep in mind that these findings do not necessarily link heart disease and hot flashes. Having hot flashes does not mean youre going to have a heart attack. Instead, it indicates that some of your arteries may not be working as well as they should. Knowing that can help you and your health care provider better assess your overall risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular problems.
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.
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Hot Flashes Raise Blood Pressure
Mark A. Stengler, NMD, a naturopathic physician and founder of The Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine in Encinitas, California . He has served on a medical advisory committee for the Yale University Complementary Medicine Outcomes Research Project and is author of Outside the Box Cancer Therapies: Alternative Therapies That Treat and Prevent Cancer, Healing the Prostate, and coauthor of Prescription for Natural Cures and Prescription for Drug Alternatives .
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Falling Estrogen And Blood Pressure
As levels of estrogen decrease, a womans risk of developing high blood pressure increases dramatically. Because of the interplay of other hormones, such as progestin, and the effect that estrogen has on other important risk factors, post-menopausal women are actually at higher risk of developing high blood pressure than are men.
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Does Menopause Cause High Blood Pressure
It is being observed that middle-aged women are suffering from high blood pressure, but it is unclear whether it is directly caused by menopause. The following are possible explanations behind menopause high blood pressure.
First, a drop in estrogen may negatively affect the health of arteries as one of the hormone’s principal roles is in maintaining their flexibility and promoting normal blood flow.
Next, drastic hormonal fluctuations make blood pressure more sensitive to salt in the diet, which means consuming even normal amounts of the nutrient in one’s diet can provoke unhealthy spikes in blood pressure.
Aside from these, there are other reasons why middle-aged women may suffer from high blood pressure during perimenopause or after menopause, including weight gain, aging, diabetes, insulin resistance, and more.
No matter the cause, high blood pressure, called hypertension, can also cause a variety of symptoms that are often credited to menopause, such as hot flashes, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, irregular heartbeat, and sleep disorders, among others.
Either way, in order to avoid the long-term complications of hypertension, which include heart and kidney failure, vision problems, dementia, and more, it is crucial that women manage and treat their condition.
The Link Between Menopause And High Blood Pressure
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 80 percent of women past menopause have high blood pressure, leading researchers and doctors in efforts to find the connection between blood pressure and the menopausal transition.
Continue reading to learn about the link between menopause and high blood pressure as well as effective management and treatment techniques for optimal cardiovascular health.
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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.
High Blood Pressure Symptoms
High blood pressure has a number of symptoms, so Ill run through them for you, because theyre actually related to menopause. They include headaches, chest pains, sleep disorders, heart palpitations, hot flashes, anxiety, depression and fatigue. But wait Doesnt that pretty much describe menopause? Hold on tight, because its even more confusing than that, which is why I recommend getting your blood pressure checked regularly.
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Risk Factor For Sleep Apnea Syndrome
Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, OSAS for short, is now considered to be a proven risk factor for high blood pressure or a possible cause of difficult to control or nocturnal hypertension, a type of secondary hypertension Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is a severe one sleep-disordered breathing, in which the airways narrow periodically.
It leads to repeated respiratory arrest so-called apneas for at least ten seconds, or to significantly reduced breathing, often between full snore episodes. Patients with sleep apnea are often troubled with other health risks such as obesity and smoking. Alcohol and sleep aids also play a role in OSAS.
They weaken the muscles that keep the throat open. Treatment of the condition and the accompanying problems can affect the unpleasant symptoms as well as serious sequelae especially heart attack and stroke favorably. And: If the doctor has not explicitly prescribed a sleep aid, it is taboo in a sleep apnea syndrome.
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Treatment For Menopause And Hypertension
How to deal with high blood pressure and menopause? Sharp fluctuations in blood pressure weaken the already weak wall of blood vessels, increasing its wear rate. If a woman also has a high cholesterol level, then, the risk of stroke and thrombosis increases sharply. Therefore, treatment should be aimed not only at lowering blood pressure, but, also, at stabilizing it.
Without the results of the examination, it is impossible to say exactly how to reduce the blood pressure during menopause in a particular patient. Therefore, treatment always begins with a diagnosis. Symptomatic therapy includes the appointment of drugs for menopause hypertension, which quickly normalizes blood pressure, removing the risk of complications in the presence of a hypertensive crisis. In addition, beta-blockers, sedatives, drugs that inhibit the production of norepinephrine are prescribed. The selection of medicines is carried out strictly on an individual basis, assessing not only the level of blood pressure but also the presence of concomitant diseases and the level of female sex hormones.
Remember: if the doctor prescribes medications to lower blood pressure with confirmed hypertension menopause, the drugs are taken daily at the prescribed dosage. You can not use such medicines on your own, only when you feel worse. This will lead to even greater pressure surges.
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An Introduction To High Blood Pressure And Menopause
High blood pressure may be a symptom of the menopause. However, there is also debate as to whether HRT raises blood pressure. Either way, if you are or suspect you are suffering from high blood pressure, it is worth speaking to your doctor to get to the root of the problem.
Your blood pressure is the force that your blood exerts on the walls of your arteries. High blood pressure rarely has obvious symptoms, and therefore many people are unaware that they are suffering from it.
However, it is important to keep a check on your blood pressure level because it can develop into serious health conditions such as heart attacks or strokes.
What Can I Do To Deal With The Side
Although hot flashes arent curable and are an inevitable part of the aging process for many women, when it comes to managing the side-effects of hot flashes, all hope is not lost. The wide range of available treatments can be significant in seeking effective relief and essentially improve a womans quality of life.
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Quick Tips To Lower High Blood Pressure In Women
2. Get some sunshineThe Journal of Investigative Dermatology explains that exposure to sunlight can bring down the levels of nitric oxide in the skin and blood, which then decreases blood pressure.
4. Drink some beetroot juice You may hate the idea of drinking beetroot juice now, but youll learn to love this vegetable because of its BP-lowering properties. Nitrates in beetroot juice have been found to promote better oxygen levels in the blood, which in turn reduces BP.
5. Eat more blueberries These berries are best eaten raw but can also be added to your smoothie. Experts say that when you eat blueberries raw, you take full advantage of its powerful antioxidant property, which can lower your BP.
6. Take an afternoon siesta That afternoon nap that you keep ignoring? It will help you lower BP! Researchers from Greece studied 212 men and women in their 60s and found that those who took naps lowered their BP by 5 mmHg.
7. Laugh whenever you can! Laughter is indeed still the best medicine! When you laugh, you suppress cortisol . So, keep laughing out loud and stay happy!
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Symptoms Of Heart Disease
With menopause, factors conspire to change a womans risk for heart disease, Foody says. Its important for women to understand that while menopause transition is natural, some of the symptoms associated with it, such as heart palpitations or increases in blood pressure, can have significant consequences.
Women should check with their doctor to be sure what theyre experiencing is still within a range of normal, Foody notes.
Symptoms you should never ignore include:
1. Palpitations Dont assume heart palpitations are natural flutters, says Rosen. Its important to identify atrial fibrillation, because this heart condition increases the risk of stroke, adds Foody.
2. Shortness of breath If you were able to go up the stairs fine, and now you find you are short of breath, talk to your healthcare provider, says Foody. It could be a sign of congestive heart failure or coronary artery disease. Shortness of breath is also one of the most common symptoms of atrial fibrillation.
3. Pressure in the chest It could be an indication of heart disease. Some women think that unless they have crushing chest pain, its not a heart attack, Foody reports. A feeling of fullness, squeezing or dull pressure in the chest that doesnt go away or that goes away and comes back could be a sign of a heart attack in women.
4. Headaches They might be a sign of high blood pressure, so get any symptoms checked out.
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Why Are Women At Greater Risk After Menopause
Estrogens are the most perfect vasodilators in young women, Maas said, but this reverses after menopause and estrogens cannot prohibit vascular aging.
Under the age of 50, the absolute risk for a cardiovascular event is lower in women than in men, but this changes between 50 and 70. After 70, women are at higher risk.
This means that the time frame 50-70 or, even better, between 40 and 70 years, is crucial to start early prevention, Maas said.
Malahfji added that while women are generally protected against heart disease during their youth, they can be vulnerable to high blood pressure around and after pregnancy,heart failure, and eclampsia, which are also impacted by their sex hormones.
Global Burden of Disease report, high blood pressure is the number one mortal risk factor for women globally.
It often starts around menopause, is less well treated because it is too often attributed to menopause, and then after 70 years it leads to heart failure, with a stiffened heart, atrial fibrillation, valvular heart disease, and strokes, Maas said.
In addition, renal failure and heart attacks may occur.
If we compare cardiovascular disease risk factors in men and women greater than 70 years, hypertension occurs much more often in women, she added.
Malahfji agreed that the risks associated with long-term high blood pressure are tremendous.
These risks include heart attack, stroke, and, particularly for women, heart failure, he said.
Early treatment is key, Malahfji said.
Hot Flashes Linked To Health Problems Including Higher Blood Pressure And Memory Loss
Heres a news flash about hot flashes new research indicates theyre much more than a nuisance and are, in fact, associated with an increase in blood pressure and a decrease in both memory and quality of sleep. Therefore, its a good idea to try to prevent them.
ABOUT HOT FLASHES
Hot flashes are most often associated with the hormonal changes of menopause but, in fact, they can continue long afterward and men can get them too when receiving hormone therapy for prostate cancer. Among the recent studies linking health problems to hot flashes is one from Weill Medical College of Cornell University, which showed that hot flashes are associated with an increase in blood pressure participants who had experienced hot flashes in the two previous weeks had significantly higher systolic blood pressure than those who had not. Other studies have linked them with memory problems and insomnia. I turned to frequent Daily Health News contributor Mark Stengler, ND, for the latest on how to minimize these uncomfortable and perhaps even unhealthy episodes.
COOLING THINGS DOWN
If hot flashes are presenting problems in your life, Dr. Stengler suggests your first step should be to request testing of your adrenal gland function. The adrenals help regulate stress and Dr. Stengler says that women whose adrenal glands work efficiently tend to have less trouble with hot flashes.
IT HELPS TO CHILL
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Can Hot Flashes Cause Fainting
Feeling light-headed and dizzy is common when enduring an episode of a hot flash, sometimes causing unconsciousness and low blood pressure is the likely culprit for it. During a hot flash, your blood vessels dilate very quickly, which can cause a sudden drop in your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, as well as drain the blood from your brain. And because your brain doesnt have enough blood flow to remain conscious, it stops sending signals to your muscles, causing you to lose consciousness and collapse.
You may also experience some or all of the following symptoms right before you faint: