Blood pressure and circulation problems

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Menopause Advisor
Ask Eileen

15 August 2016

Read the full video transcript below

Today's topic

Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I’m going to talk about blood pressure. Now, it’s a really interesting fact that more than 50% of women over 50 will end up getting blood pressure problems. And high blood pressure today is actually known as the silent killer because for some people there are absolutely no symptoms whatsoever until maybe they end up getting serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Now, unfortunately, going through the menopause one of the things that falling oestrogen can do is to actually affect our blood pressure. So it’s very important, once you know for definite that you are going through the menopause, that you get your blood pressure checked regularly. Now, please don’t go overboard, don’t get really anxious about this. But maybe once every six months would be enough just to keep everything in check.

High blood pressure symptoms

Now, there can be some symptoms of high blood pressure and I just want to run through them because they are actually quite pertinent to the menopause. The symptoms include headaches, chest pains, sleep problems, palpitations, hot flushes, anxiety, depression, and tiredness. Now, doesn’t that just sound like the menopause? And this is when it can get really confusing because you’re not actually going to know which is what. So this is why I’m actually recommending regular checking with your blood pressure.

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What can you do to help yourself?

So what can you do to help yourself during the menopause just to keep your blood pressure under control? Well, unfortunately, we know that stress is a huge issue in the menopause itself, and it’s also one of the big factors for blood pressure too. So is being aware of any stress and anxiety and finding ways that work for you to actually try and keep this under control.

You’ve got herbs like passiflora, remember the magnesium. It’s so great for anxiety and that can really make such a big difference.

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Look at your diet because there are certain foods that may actually affect your blood pressure so that would be things like lots of caffeine, having lots of salt in your diet as well. And dehydration can actually affect your blood pressure too. So if you’re getting lots of hot flushes and night sweats you need to be extra aware of this as well.

As far as the salt goes, it is very important to have a certain amount of salt in your diet. And one of the things that coming forward just now with quite a number of questions for women is that they are realizing that they are losing salt when they’re getting hot flushes and night sweats. And low sodium can actually cause a number of problems as well. So if you are getting lots of hot flushes and sweats, just make sure that you are getting enough salt in your diet but don’t go over the safe limit which at the moment is around about six grams a day. And try if you can to go for sea salt rather than ordinary table salt purely because there’s lots of other minerals and nutrients in sea salt that can be very beneficial for us as well.

You can also look at the herb crataegus. This has been traditionally used for many, many years to actually help with blood pressure. It’s very slow, though, so if the doctor says, “Oh, your blood pressure is a bit high, and I want it down within three weeks,” this isn’t going to help. So it can take three or four months to actually help to keep everything under control. But it’s certainly worth looking at if you wish to take a natural remedy.

Low blood pressure

Now, one of the things that can happen, it’s not quite so common during menopause, is that you could get low blood pressure instead. And low blood pressure can be just as damaging as high blood pressure. The symptoms for low blood pressure are dizziness or lightheadedness. You can sometimes feel as if you’re losing your balance. You can get blurred vision. You can get palpitations again. You can get a little bit of confusion and a little bit of brain fog sometimes. And also you can get nausea.

And again, that is a complete menopause package as well. So it’s very important that if you’re getting any of these particular symptoms or in any combination, just get your blood pressure checked as well. With low blood pressure, again you can look at herbs such as crataegus. This is a balancing herb so it will work for high blood pressure and low blood pressure. Remember if you’re getting the dizziness or the lightheadedness to keep hydrated because again, with hot flushes, night sweats, you can get the dehydration that can trigger these symptoms as well.

Circulatory problems

Now accompanied by either high or low blood pressure, you can get general circulatory problems in the menopause. We know that falling oestrogen can make your general circulation a bit sluggish. It can also weaken the blood vessels and this, in turn, can lead to symptoms such as varicose veins, spider veins, and thread veins. Unfortunately, especially with our face, we can start to get those spider veins in the cheeks. And this is a combination of symptoms that are going on.

Low oestrogen

Low oestrogen is going to affect the circulation generally. It is going to weaken the blood vessels. But falling oestrogen can thin our skin, and it can make any veins that we have much more prominent, and it can make it look like they are actually a lot worse than what they are. The falling oestrogen can also weaken the valves in the legs and that can give rise to symptoms such as your varicose veins. And if you’re actually having to stand a lot during the day maybe you work on your feet, then all of these things can contribute together to give rise to these particular symptoms. So look at remedies, horse chestnut is fabulous for varicose veins. You can look at the gel as well.

Thinning skin and general circulation

And one of the things I’ve certainly noticed going through the menopause is that the skin on the back of your hand gets a lot thinner and the veins become much more prominent. And you can use products like the horse chestnut gel on the hands just to help tighten these up a little bit too. And remember with your hands now, because the skin is thinner when you’re doing a lot of washing up or anything that involves using your hands a lot with detergents or other chemicals, wear those rubber gloves because they really can save your hands over a long period of time.

If your general circulation is sluggish, if you feel that you’re getting cold hands and feet in the winter, if you suddenly develop chilblains, then you can actually look at the herb Ginkgo biloba. This helps to improve the arterial circulation and gingko can also be great for memory as well. So it’s a nice one to take that will give you a benefit for a couple of different symptoms.

Go to the doctor!

So I hope that’s helped to give you a little bit more information on what can happen with your blood pressure and circulation in the menopause. And please, this really is an important one, don’t skip visiting the doctor with this one. So I look forward to seeing you next week on A.Vogel Talks Menopause.

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Did you know?

You won’t get the menopause the minute you turn 50! The average starting age is actually between 45 and 55 and it can often depend on a number of factors including hereditary, weight and health, however every single woman will have an individual menopause.

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