Menopause can bring many new conditions that you may have not experienced before. Increased blood pressure levels are certainly one of them and often due to the increased weight that many women put on at this time.
This can be related to hormonal imbalance, and in particular oestrogen dominance, so looking to reduce this will certainly make a big improvement in your health.
The health risks of hypertension
More than 1 in 4 adults in the UK have high blood pressure, (hypertension), although many will not realise it. The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked.
High blood pressure increases the risk for heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and several other life-threatening health problems.
The fact is that many deaths from hypertension are preventable. High blood pressure is almost always treatable with lifestyle changes and inexpensive medication, yet less than half of people with high blood pressure have it under control.
Experts suggest that 50%-90% of high blood pressure could be successfully lowered with lifestyle change.
Generally most doctors who have a patient whose blood pressure is mildly elevated, and there are no high risk factors (such as diabetes, current smoker or history of heart disease, stroke or multiple cardiac risk factors), will recommend a 3-month trial of lifestyle change as an initial treatment.
For the majority of patients many of these changes can be as effective as any single blood pressure medication. many of us certainly want to avoid being on medication for the rest of their lives, so there is a strong motivation to make lifestyle changes which will give you more control over your own health.
Top five key lifestyle changes
1. Physical Activity: Even a modest level of physical activity, over time, can make a significant difference in your blood pressure. If you’re not used to exercise, start slow. Five or 10 minutes a day of your favorite activity can be just the start you need to build an exercise habit and allow you to build up to the 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of activity recommended by national guidelines.
2. Healthy Diet: Start by cutting out highly processed food (packaged foods typically high in added sugar and/or refined grains). Watching your salt intake is important if you have high blood pressure, but keep in mind that most of the salt in our diets comes from processed foods and restaurants.
3. Weight Loss: Losing even 5% of your starting body weight has been proven to significantly lower blood pressure; and 10% has been shown to dramatically improve other health conditions such as atrial fibrillation. Find a diet you will stick to as this needs to be a long-term strategy that will create better eating habits. If your weight is hormonally-based then try the oestrogen dominance diet.
4. Limited alcohol intake (less than one drink per day): A recent study showed that people who drank 7-13 drinks per week were 53% more likely to have stage I hypertension. Those who drank more than 14 drinks per week had a 69% higher risk of hypertension.
5. Not smoking: Giving up can modestly lower blood pressure and dramatically lower the risk for future heart disease.
Some other things that you could consider in addition to these lifestyle changes, are to avoid regular use of anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen and naproxen, and treat sleep apnoea if you have it.
Weight gain seems to be for many women an inevitable consequence at menopause, as the ovaries shift production of oestrogen into the fat cells of the abdomen, hips and thighs.
Bioidentical Progesterone acts as a natural diuretic to help reduce some of this weight and when accompanied by a healthy weight reduction programme should see results in your blood pressure results as well.g
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