When women enter a mid-chapter in their lives, a very large majority of women between the ages of 40-60 will experience unpleasant flashes or bursts of heat. According to Breastcancer.org, more than "eighty-five percent of the women in the United States experience hot flashes of some kind as they approach menopause and for the first year or two after their periods stop."
These annoying bursts of heat can be uncomfortable but are not life-threatening. However, these "sweat drippers" can be confused with high blood pressure or a fever.
Recently on vacation, I was having heat sensations in my face and upper body. I’d look in the mirror and I’d see large red splotches on my face and neck. Along with these unattractive splotches I felt dizzy and light-headed.
While walking to the plane, I felt the same sensation. I thought I might be coming down with a fever but the sensation subsided after 30 minutes or so. After a long flight from San Francisco, I noticed the splotches again which were accompanied by what felt like a hot flash. I visited the doctor in the morning and my blood pressure was ridiculously high.
The American Heart Association’s website states that facial flushing and dizziness are inconclusive related symptoms of high blood pressure. The site states “facial flushing occurs when blood vessels in the face dilate. The red, burning face can occur unpredictably or in response to certain triggers such as sun exposure, cold weather, spicy foods, wind, hot drinks and skin-care products. Facial flushing can also occur with emotional stress, exposure to heat or hot water, alcohol consumption and exercise, all of which can raise blood pressure temporarily. While facial flushing may occur while your blood pressure is higher than usual, HBP is not the cause of facial flushing.”
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), " a fever, also known as pyrexia, is a body temperature that is higher than normal. It is not an illness. It is part of your body's defense against infection. Most bacteria and viruses that cause infections do well at the body's normal temperature (98.6 F)." The NIH states that other causes of a fever may include:
· Autoimmune disease
· Heat exhaustion
If you are suffering from a "hot spell" it is important to contact your health care provider immediately. Do not wait for the symptoms to become worse.
"All About Hot Flashes." Breastcancer.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 May 2013.
"What Are the Symptoms of High Blood Pressure?" What Are the Symptoms of High Blood Pressure? N.p., n.d. Web. 29 May 2013.
"Fever: MedlinePlus." U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 29 May 2013.
Reviewed May 29, 2013
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith