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Hot flashes can predict spikes in blood pressure
Of all the things that can happen to a woman’s body during menopause, there’s nothing quite like a hot flash.
When I was young, my mother used to roll down the car window in the dead of winter and stick her head out the window. I never understood this, until I hit menopause myself.
If you’ve been experiencing hot flashes, and you’ve also been told by your doctor that your blood pressure is running on the high side, you may wonder if there is a connection between the two, or if the hot flashes are causing your high blood pressure numbers.
There is definitely an association between the two, but hot flashes don’t cause a rise in blood pressure.
Let’s understand just what the connection is.
More than just a hot flash
A University of Hawaii study investigated the possible connection between hot flashes and hypertension.
A sample of 202 women, ages 40 to 55 years, was monitored around the clock for both hot flashes and changes in ambulatory blood pressure (blood pressure readings while doing normal, everyday activities).
The women also each kept a diary of their hot flashes and any accompanying changes in mood.
The results were interesting, and quite possibly useful to you if you are a woman in this age group.
Over a two-week period, there was no significant difference in mean blood pressure between women who reported having a hot flash any time during those two weeks, and those who did not.
However, women who experienced frequent hot flashes also had a systolic blood pressure that was significantly higher than average. “Systolic” refers to the top number of your blood pressure reading and measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart contracts.
In fact, this association was so strong that researchers could use the women’s hot flashes to predict increases in their systolic numbers.
The role of stress
One good theory about the connection between hot flashes and higher blood pressure readings is this: both start whenever there’s an increase in activity in the sympathetic nervous system.
While the autonomic nervous system regulates the body’s unconscious actions, like breathing and digestion, the sympathetic nervous system’s job is to stimulate the fight-or-flight response.
So, it’s likely that stress is at the root of both hot flashes and high blood pressure.
It’s easy to assume that hot flashes and blood pressure are intimately linked, when in fact, they are both caused by many of the same things, including alcohol, hot water, exercise and again, stress.
Natural ways to ease hot flashes and lower blood pressure
The takeaway here is that you can control hot flashes naturally, and that, of course, there is much you can do to keep those blood pressure numbers regular.
Herbal remedies have long been used to ease hot flashes and other troubling menopausal symptoms. Here are seven herbal remedies you can try after consulting with your doctor to avoid possible interactions with medications you’re already taking.
And here’s a primer on foods and supplements that can help control your blood pressure naturally, along with other resources for you to check out.
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Are hot flashes related to blood pressure? — Women’s Health Network
Relationship Between Hot Flashes and Ambulatory Blood Pressure: The Hilo Women’s Health Study — Psychosomatic Medicine