Discover the connection between menopause and high blood pressure, as well as how menopausal women can reduce high blood pressure.
If you’re a woman, chances are you do a monthly breast exam. But when is the last time you checked your blood pressure? It used to be thought that hypertension and other heart concerns were “men’s issues”, but the link between menopause and high blood pressure is clear—women, particularly women in menopause, are at even greater risk for high blood pressure levels than men.
The Connection Between Menopause and High Blood Pressure
As your natural estrogen levels wane, your blood pressure can climb. This is nothing to take lightly. High blood pressure levels are linked with serious degenerative health issues like Type 2 diabetes and renal failure, and can shorten a woman’s lifespan by 10 to 20 years.
What’s even scarier is that high blood pressure levels often give you no visible symptoms, except perhaps a vague headache. This is why it’s often referred to as the “silent killer.”
Preventing and Reducing Menopause-Induced High Blood Pressure
- The most important thing you can do is test your high blood pressure regularly. High blood pressure levels mean you have a systolic blood pressure of 135 mmHg or greater, and/or a diastolic pressure of 85 mmHg or greater. A normal blood pressure is considered 120 mmHg over 80 mmHg, or lower.
- Avoid taking daily painkillers. A report from the Harvard School of Medicine’s ongoing Nurses’ Health Study concluded that women are at increased risk for high blood pressure levels if they take daily doses of non-aspirin painkillers such as extra-strength acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
- Add foods that reduce high blood pressure to your diet. If you’re worried about menopause and high blood pressure, as well as keeping your heart healthy, you want to increase your intake of oatmeal and complex carbohydrates. Flaxseed, apples, onions, and seaweed are all great choices. I also recommend coldwater fish like wild salmon.
- Eat garlic. An Australian review of 11 studies show that it can help patients experiencing menopause and high blood pressure. In the studies, hypertensive patients were randomly given a garlic supplement or placebo. The results found that garlic can reduce blood pressure as effectively as some drugs. On average, the mega-analysis turned up blood pressure reductions of 8.4 systolic points, and 7.3 diastolic points. The higher a patient’s blood pressure was at the beginning, the more it was lowered by taking garlic.
- Get moving. Regular exercise is a sure way to help prevent and reduce high blood pressure levels often associated with menopause. Physical activity also lowers the levels of stress hormones circulating in the blood, which is important since stress tends to constrict arteries and drive up blood pressure. You want to strive to exercise three to four times a week.
Now it’s your turn: Are you experiencing menopause and high blood pressure?
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