High Blood Pressure In Menopause

High blood pressure is a potentially serious complication, which affects some menopausal women. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes and it should be addressed; blood pressure relates to the force at which the blood travels through the blood vessels and the pressure it exerts on the walls of the vessels. High blood pressure during menopause can be linked to hormonal changes, which affect circulation and fluid levels and increase the risk of build-up of harmful plaque in the arteries, which slows and obstructs blood flow; it can also be associated with stress. Some women may also experience increased blood pressure as a result of weight gain during or after menopause.

Signs of high blood pressure

There are often no obvious signs of high blood pressure and this is why it's important to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis.

If you think you may have high blood pressure or you're worried about your blood pressure, simply call and book an appointment with your practice nurse; some pharmacies also offer blood pressure checks.

Preventing high blood pressure

Often, high blood pressure is linked to lifestyle factors and there are lots of things you can do to try and prevent high blood pressure; these include:

  • Exercise: exercise helps to boost circulation and lower blood pressure; good examples of exercise to do if you have high blood pressure include cycling, swimming, playing tennis, brisk walking or jogging.
  • Avoid smoking and only drink alcohol in moderation: both smoking and drinking alcohol increase the risk of developing high blood pressure and associated complications, so try and avoid these if you can. If you need help with quitting smoking or cutting down your intake of alcohol, ask your GP.
  • Eat well: your diet is really important when it comes to blood pressure and heart health. Try to stick to lean meats fish and poultry, avoid processed and fried foods and aim for at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. It is also advisable to watch your salt and sugar intake and to include whole grain foods in your diet.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight: if you're overweight, this can increase your risk of high blood pressure. If you're trying to lose weight, the best ways to do this are to increase the amount of exercise you do and follow a healthy eating plan.
  • Avoid stress triggers: stress can increase the risk of high blood pressure, so try your best to avoid situations you will find stressful and steer clear of triggers.

Medication for high blood pressure

If your blood pressure is still high after making changes to your lifestyle, your GP may recommend medication to lower it; types of medication may include beta-blockers and diuretics. Your GP will explain how medication works and highlight the risks of any side-effects before you start the course.

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