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.
How Does Menopause Affect Bone Health
The older a person is, the greater their risk of osteoporosis. A persons risk becomes even greater when they go through menopause. When your estrogen level decreases during menopause, you lose more bone than your body can replace. This makes your bones weaker and more likely to break. To keep your bones strong, its important to get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet. These help your body absorb calcium. Your doctor can suggest ways to get more calcium through food, drink, and, possibly, a calcium supplement. They may also suggest that you take a vitamin D supplement to help your body process calcium. Ask your doctor what amount of daily calcium and vitamin D is right for you.
What Are The Risk Factors For Heart Disease
Risk factors are conditions or a lifestyle that make a person more likely to develop a disease. They can also increase the chances that an existing disease will get worse. Important risk factors for heart disease that you can proactively manage are:
- Raised blood pressure
- Being overweight or obese unhealthy diet ,
- Being physically inactive
- Having a family history of early heart disease
Some risk factors, such as age and family history of early heart disease, cannot be changed. For women, age becomes a risk factor over the age of 55. After menopause, women are more likely to get heart disease, partly cause their body’s production of estrogen drops. Women who have gone through early menopause, either naturally or because they have had their ovaries removed are twice as likely to develop heart disease as women of the same age, who have not yet reached menopause.
While the individual effect of each risk factor varies between different communities or ethnic groups the overall contribution of them is very consistent, and many important cardiovascular risks are modifiable by lifestyle changes.
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When To Call A Doctor
- Menstrual periods that are unusually heavy, irregular, or prolonged .
- Bleeding between menstrual periods, when periods have been regular.
- Renewed bleeding after having no periods for 6 months or more.
- Unexplained bleeding while you are taking hormones.
- Symptoms, such as insomnia, hot flashes, or mood swings, that aren’t responding to home treatment and are interfering with your sleep or daily life.
- Vaginal pain or dryness that doesn’t improve with home treatment, or you have signs of a urinary tract infection, such as pain or burning during urination or cloudy urine.
What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries as the heart pumps blood. When a health care professional measures your blood pressure, they use a blood pressure cuff around your arm that gradually tightens. The results are given in two numbers. The first number, called systolic blood pressure, is the pressure caused by your heart contracting and pushing out blood. The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, is the pressure when your heart relaxes and fills with blood.
A blood pressure reading is given as the systolic blood pressure number over the diastolic blood pressure number. Blood pressure levels are classified based on those two numbers.
- Low blood pressure, or hypotension, is systolic blood pressure lower than 90 or diastolic blood pressure lower than 60. If you have low blood pressure, you may feel lightheaded, weak, dizzy, or even faint. It can be caused by not getting enough fluids, blood loss, some medical conditions, or medications, including those prescribed for high blood pressure.
- Normal blood pressure for most adults is defined as a systolic pressure of less than 120 and a diastolic pressure of less than 80.
- Elevated blood pressure is defined as a systolic pressure between 120 and 129 with a diastolic pressure of less than 80.
- High blood pressure is defined as 130 or higher for the first number, or 80 or higher for the second number.
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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.
Does Normal Blood Pressure Change With Age
Just as our blood pressure readings change according to our posture, sleep time, and stress levels throughout the day, our blood pressure changes as we age. Despite the fluctuating or changing measurements, we should maintain a normal range. As we age, we can expect changes in our cardiovascular health, including our blood pressure and cholesterol levels. There are several factors that reflect our blood pressure levels over the years, including normal blood pressure for seniors.
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What Medications Are Used To Treat Postmenopausal Symptoms
Hormone therapy could be an option, although healthcare providers often recommend using it for a short amount of time and in people under the age of 60. There are health risks associated with hormone therapy like blood clots and stroke. Some healthcare providers do not recommend using hormone therapy after menopause has ended or if you have certain medical conditions.
Some medications your healthcare provider may consider helping with postmenopausal symptoms are:
- Antidepressants for mood swings or depression.
- Vaginal creams for pain related to sexual intercourse and vaginal dryness.
- Gabapentin to relieve hot flashes.
Oftentimes your provider will recommend lifestyle changes to help manage your symptoms.
Oestrogen And Heart Health
Oestrogen and heart health are closely linked. Not only does oestrogen help to prevent the build-up of fatty plaque in the arteries and control cholesterol levels, but it also supports the function of the arteries and blood flow .As such, when oestrogen levels begin to decrease, the risk of the coronary arteries narrowing increases. According to the British Heart Foundation, this can make coronary heart disease, or a circulatory condition, such as stroke, more likely .Some experts also suggest that the drop in oestrogen may increase the risk of heart-related issues, including high blood pressure, heart palpitations, and heart disease particularly in post-menopausal women .
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Heart Rate And Exercise
In discussions about high blood pressure, you will often see heart rate mentioned in relation to exercise. Your target heart rate is based on age and can help you monitor the intensity of your exercise.
- If you measure your heart rate before, during and after physical activity, youll notice it will increase over the course of the exercise.
- The greater the intensity of the exercise, the more your heart rate will increase.
- When you stop exercising, your heart rate does not immediately return to your normal heart rate.
- The more fit you are, the sooner your heart rate will return to normal.
What Factors Contribute To High Blood Pressure
The following are some of the factors that contribute to high blood pressure:
- Other toxins
High blood pressure medications may treat symptoms but not the underlying causes. Some may not even control your blood pressure over a full 24-hour period. They also come with their own side effects. Antihypertensives work by:
- Facilitating blood flow through dilation of blood vessels.
- Other drugs block natural chemicals produced by the body to combat low blood pressure.
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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.
Gabby Logan Says Its Important To Talk To Men About Menopause
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Symptoms of the menopause include hot flushes, night sweats and vaginal dryness, and most women will experience menopausal symptoms. The NHS says that some of these can be quite severe and have a significant impact on your everyday activities. After menopause, your risk of certain medical conditions may rise. The length of each stage of the menopause transition can vary for each individual.
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How Can I Control My Blood Pressure
You can often lower your blood pressure by changing your day-to-day habits and by taking medication if needed. Treatment, especially if you have other medical conditions such as diabetes, requires ongoing evaluation and discussions with your doctor.
Lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent and lower high blood pressure:
In addition to recommending lifestyle changes, your doctor will likely prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure to a safe level. Isolated systolic hypertension, the most common form of high blood pressure in older adults, is treated in the same way as regular high blood pressure but may require more than one type of blood pressure medication. You may try several kinds or combinations of medications before finding a plan that works best for you. Medication can control your blood pressure, but it can’t cure it. If your doctor starts you on medication for high blood pressure, you may need to take it long-term.
Does Menopause Cause High Blood Pressure
Sex hormone-sensitive receptors are found in many organs and systems of the female body. Estrogens support the elasticity of blood vessels and their resistance to pressure drops.
After the cessation of menstruation and at the intermediate stage of the climacteric period, nature for some reason begins to consider the woman unpromising because of the inability to become pregnant and prolong the genus. This should not frighten or upset you today, every woman can and should help her body maintain beauty and health with the help of accessible and reasonably safe hormonal drugs. But, not only a lack of estrogen leads to menopause high blood pressure in women often the females themselves create the conditions for the development of menopause hypertension and vascular diseases.
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What Can I Do To Prevent Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis isnt entirely preventable, but you can take steps to strengthen your bones. Eating foods high in calcium like cheese, yogurt, spinach or fortified cereals can help boost calcium intake. Adding a calcium supplement can also help. Some people also need a vitamin D supplement because it helps their body absorb calcium.
Do You Need Tests To Diagnose Menopause
You don’t need to be tested to see if you have started perimenopause or reached menopause. You and your doctor will most likely be able to tell based on irregular periods and other symptoms.
If you have heavy, irregular periods, your doctor may want to do tests to rule out a serious cause of the bleeding. Heavy bleeding may be a normal sign of perimenopause. But it can also be caused by infection, disease, or a pregnancy problem.
You may not need to see your doctor about menopause symptoms. But it is important to keep up your annual physical examinations. Your risks for heart disease, cancer, and bone thinning increase after menopause. At your yearly visits, your doctor can check your overall health and recommend testing as needed.
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How High Blood Pressure Impacts Womens Health
High blood pressure is more prevalent in women compared to men, especially with age. Women may experience a disproportionate increase in their systolic blood pressure levels versus their diastolic levels around menopause or after. When women go through menopause, there is a stiffening of the blood vessels. This relates to Isolated Systolic Hypertension . ISH describes the pattern of high systolic reading and a normal systolic reading.
Other conditions that are specific to women who have high blood pressure are:
When Should I Call My Doctor
If any of your postmenopause symptoms bother you or prevent you from living your daily life, contact your healthcare provider to discuss possible treatment. They can confirm you have completed menopause and are in postmenopause.
Some questions you might ask are:
- Are these symptoms normal for people in postmenopause?
- Is there treatment for my symptoms?
- Is hormone therapy still an option?
- What can I do to feel better?
If you experience any vaginal bleeding during postmenopause, contact your healthcare provider to rule out a serious medical condition.
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Do People In Postmenopause Lose Interest In Sex
No, not all people lose interest in sex after menopause. Vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex can make sex less pleasurable. Using a vaginal lubricant can help with dryness. Some people are less interested in sex because of other symptoms like depression or feeling tired. If your feelings about sex have changed, ask your healthcare provider for help.
Heart Palpitations And High Blood Pressure During Menopause
Hormonal changes associated with the menopause can affect all areas of your biology. You may experience a host of challenging physical and psychological symptoms, including hot flushes, anxiety, insomnia and fatigue. Whats less known, however, is that menopause can also impact your cardiovascular health.Although menopausal symptoms vary from woman to woman, many experience changes to their heart health. Some, for instance, may suffer from heart palpitations and high blood pressure as a result of fluctuating oestrogen levels that occur during this period.We understand that these symptoms can be worrying, so below well take a deeper look into how the menopause affects the heart, and how you can support your cardiovascular health at this stage.
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What To Do About Hpb
Be sure to have your blood pressure checked regularly, especially if you have risk factors. If youre under 120/80, youre said to be in the normal range if youre consistently between 120129/80, youre elevated. Over that, and you enter into hypertension range.
Best is to have your BP checked by a medical professional. The machine at the drugstore pharmacy is great, but youll likely get the most accurate numbers at a doctors office.
If tests show that youre hypertensive or pre-hypertensive, make a plan with your doctor about how youll proceed. A personalized plan that includes diet, exercise, and other heart-healthy lifestyle choices could help you reduce the number of medications youll need, so map it out and stick to it.
Managing HPB can be done. By drastically reducing sodium, improving her diet, and sleeping more, Amy has so far been able to keep her numbers under the pre-hypertensive threshold without medication.
Bonus Resource: Be sure to check out the US Department of Health and Human Services info sheet, Your Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure. While the document dates back to 2003, theres lots of good information in there, especially when used in conjunction with regular doc visits!
*As always, the information in this blog is for educational purposes only. If you suspect you have high blood pressure or any other health concern, please stop reading right now and get to your doc. You can read and enjoy this later, when you know alls well.