Is there a connection between menopause and high blood pressure?

Answer From Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D.

Blood pressure generally increases after menopause. Some doctors think this increase suggests that shifting hormones related to menopause are to blame. Others think an increase in body mass index (BMI) in menopausal women may be the more likely culprit.

Changes in hormones during menopause can lead to weight gain and make your blood pressure more sensitive to salt in your diet — which, in turn, can lead to higher blood pressure. Some types of hormone therapy (HT) for menopause also may lead to higher blood pressure.

To control your blood pressure both before and after menopause, focus on a healthy lifestyle:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat heart-healthy foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Reduce the amount of processed foods and salt in your diet.
  • Exercise most days of the week.
  • Manage stress.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol.
  • If you smoke, stop.

If necessary, your doctor may prescribe medications to help lower your blood pressure.

July 16, 2019