In women, symptoms of hypertension are often mistaken for signs of menopause

THE ESSENTIAL

  • One in two women under the age of 60 suffers from high blood pressure. However, the symptoms are similar to those of menopause, which can lead to misdiagnosis.
  • This misdiagnosis puts women at risk for atrial fibrillation, heart failure and stroke.

“There are several phases of life where we can identify subgroups of women at high risk”, says Angela Maas, director of the women’s heart health program at Radboud University Medical Center (The Netherlands) and lead author of the article published in The European Heart Journal (ESC review).

The average age of entry into menopause is 50 years. Under 40, we will talk about early and natural menopause (in cases where it is not triggered by surgery). However, about 50% of women develop hypertension before the age of 60, with symptoms – including hot flashes and palpitations – similar to those of menopause, which can distort the diagnosis.

We know that blood pressure is treated less well in women than in men, which puts them at risk of atrial fibrillation, heart failure and stroke. “, points out Angela Maas, director of the women’s heart health program at Radboud University Medical Center (Netherlands).

We need to assess women differently from men, and not just ask them about high cholesterol. This will allow us to classify middle-aged women as being at high or low risk for cardiovascular disease.“, continues the latter.

Transgender women also at risk

The preeclampsie, that is, pregnancy-related hypertension, is also a symptom to watch out for, including after childbirth. “High blood pressure during pregnancy is a harbinger of the possible onset of hypertension when a woman goes through menopause and is associated with dementia decades later. If blood pressure is not taken into account when women are in their 40s or 50s, they will have problems in their 60s when hypertension is more difficult to treat“, warns Angela Maas.

The article also offers advice on how to manage heart health for other female diseases, such as breast cancer and breast cancer. polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). A healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet are recommended for managing the onset of menopause, as well as for women with PCOS, who are at high risk for preeclampsia and type 2 diabetes.

The recommendations are also addressed to transgender women “who need hormone therapy for the rest of their life and for whom the risk of blood clots is likely to increase over time. life“, recalls Angela Maas.


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