Women who experience hot flashes have been found to have higher blood pressures than those who don’t. Systolic blood pressures (top number) were found to be significantly higher in women who have hot flashes regardless of menopausal status. The higher blood pressures were consistent even when differences in weight, ethnicity and age were evaluated. This study was conducted on 154 women 18 to 65 years old with no history of heart disease and normal blood pressures (published in the Journal of the North American Menopause Society March 2007).
Hot flashes are believed to be caused by an increase in the activated of the sympathetic nervous system (this is the “fight or flight” system which leads to an increase in heart rate and constricts blood vessels). This logically can also then lead to an increase in blood pressure.
Women experiencing hot flashes should make sure they closely monitor their blood pressure. Remember a normal blood pressure should be less than 120/80.
For more information about menopause, high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease see our new book “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” at www.heart-strong.com
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