Menopause does not increase blood pressure, cardiovascular disease riskOctober 2nd, 2008 - 5:40 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, October 2 (ANI): While increases in blood pressure and cardiovascular disease risk are often observed in postmenopausal women, two new studies now suggest that menopause itself does not give rise to such conditions.
Though both studies offer differing explanations for the postmenopausal increase in blood pressure, they commonly negate the ending process of menstruation as the cause behind elevated blood pressure.
According to the Czech study led by Dr. Renata Cifkova of the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Prague, the factor most strongly related to blood pressure was the women’’s body mass index (BMI) )-a standard measure of body fatness, which tends to increase with age.
“The rise in blood pressure after the menopause appeared to be due to increased BMI, rather than to ovarian failure per se,” says Dr. Cifkova.
The study examined blood pressure measurements in around 900 women aged 45 to 54, classifying them into premenopausal, late in the menopausal transition, or postmenopausal.
The researchers took into account various factors, and came to the conclusion that after adjustment for the effects of age, there was no relationship between blood pressure and menopausal status.
They observed that blood pressure levels were similar for women who were premenopausal, going through menopause, or postmenopausal.
Menopausal status also had no effect on the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), they said.
Similarly, an Italian study led by Dr. Edoardo Casiglia of University of Padova included more than 9,000 women ranging in age from 18 to 70, and revealed that absolute blood pressure levels were higher for menopausal women than for fertile (premenopausal) women.
Other potential cardiovascular risk factors were also greater in menopausal women.
However, as in the Czech study, the relationship between menopause and blood pressure was no longer significant after adjustment for age. Apparent menopause-related differences in several other risk factors-including BMI-also disappeared after adjustment for age.
“Menopausal women seem to have higher BP values and worse risk profile than the fertile ones, but this is simply due to their older age,” according to the researchers.
However, both studies mutually concluded that menopause itself did not cause increased blood pressure.
While the Czech researchers believe that increases in body weight in older women are the most important factor, the Italian researchers think that older age is the key contributor to increases in blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors after menopause.
Both the studies were reported in the October ”Journal of Hypertension”. (ANI)
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