Women often first encounter high blood pressure (hypertension) at menopause, particularly if on HRT, and it is no coincidence that is also when they start putting on weight.
Your blood pressure is the force that your blood exerts on the walls of your arteries and while it can change from minute to minute with changes in posture, exercise, stress or sleep, your doctor is usually looking for it to be less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic for an adult.
Symptoms and risks of high blood pressure
Unfortunately it usually has no obvious symptoms and so at menopause it is worth while keeping an eye on your levels as untreated high blood pressure can lead to serious diseases, including stroke, heart disease and kidney failure.
In some rare cases, where a person has very high blood pressure, they can experience symptoms, including a persistent headache, blurred or double vision, nosebleeds and shortness of breath
Factors that can raise your risk are:
- your age as the risk of developing high blood pressure increases as you get older
- a family history of high blood pressure
- a high amount of salt in your food
- a lack of exercise
- being overweight or obese
- drinking large amounts of alcohol
As high blood pressure is a risk factor for strokes and heart problems it is essential to get it under control and although medication may be needed if serious, initially it can be tackled with some more simple, natural methods.
3 Ways To Help Yourself
Although all these tips will help, they are best combined for maximum effect and to start getting your blood pressure under control.
1 Hormone balance
Once the natural production of oestrogen from the ovaries slows down, or stops, then production is shifted into the fat cells of the stomach so you start to see a bigger tummy, and along with this often goes some bloating. Increased oestrogen can be helpful for many menopause symptoms such as vaginal dryness, but when that oestrogen is not balanced by progesterone then you get symptoms related to it.
If you are oestrogen dominant then you have lower progesterone levels than oestrogen and this can easily be remedied by using bioidentical natural progesterone cream. One of the main problems with oestrogen dominance is that acts to retain water in the body, a common source of excess weight and bloating and common with HRT use.
Progesterone promotes the elimination of oestrogen from tissues, and so acts as a diuretic to help shed excess weight and reduce bloating. Lowering your weight also lowers your blood pressure. In the USA Dr CW Randolf has written ‘From Belly Fat to Belly Flat’ about the ways progesterone can contribute to weight loss.
2 Maintain a healthy weight
Because progesterone supports thyroid function, and also acts as a diuretic, this is how it helps regulate weight and encourages weight loss due to the excretion of excess fluid from the body. Elements of a healthy diet include fresh food, not processed, and a reduction in sugar and the Mediterranean diet is recommended for weight loss.
Many studies have shown that diets which are rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium can help lower raised blood pressure. Magnesium is an essential mineral for the maintenance of heart muscle contraction, and potassium is important for contributing to the maintenance of normal blood pressure. A Swedish study of 34,670 women aged 49–83 years found that women with pre-existing hypertension had a lower risk of having a stroke, (one of the major risk factors with high blood pressure), when their diets were higher in potassium and magnesium.
Research presented at the American Heart Association in 2012 highlighted the benefits of both yoghurt and cranberries in helping you avoid, or deal with, high blood pressure. A 15 year study of 2,000 volunteers found that when at least two percent of daily calories came from yogurt there was a 31 percent risk reduction of developing high blood pressure than people who don’t eat yogurt at all.
If you want that benefit then what you need is a 6 ounce serving of a low fat organic plain yoghurt every three days. Don’t dilute the effect by having one with fruit, sugar or any other additives.
If you add a glass of cranberry juice to your daily intake then that can have a significant drop in blood pressure. An eight-week study found found there was an average drop of three points, from study participants who drank the juice daily.
3 Reduce stress
When does your blood pressure go up? When you are tired, not sleeping enough and dealing with stress on a regular basis. Obviously keeping calm is good, but not always possible, so adopting simple techniques such as slow, deep breathing, meditation, relaxation, yoga, tai chi or just sitting down quietly reading or listening to music can all help.
Regular exercise helps reduce weight, but is also proven to reduce stress levels and you can keep it simple with a walk with a friend or a pleasurable exercise you enjoy such as swimming, dancing or anything else that takes your fancy and you can maintain regularly.
Many women combine hypertension medications with bioidentical creams such as Serenity to help deal with menopause symptoms, and weight gain. Because bioidentical natural progesterone acts as a diuretic to lower your blood pressure, it is advisable to monitor your blood pressure regularly as it may able to reduce the drugs dosage but only in consultation with your doctor.
If you want to know more on the links between high blood pressure and other factors that can influence it such as fatigue and sleep problems then these article will be helpful: