Lege Artis Medicinae

[POSTMENOPAUSAL HYPERTENSION]

SZÉKÁCS Béla

FEBRUARY 21, 2004

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2004;14(02)

[Women with normal cycles on the average have lower blood pressure than age matched men. From the fifth decade of life increasing average blood pressure values of females reach or even exceed the levels of males. The frequency of hypertension among women in menopause and postmenopause is 3-4 times greater than in premenopause. This great difference can not be explained by the age dependent increase in blood pressure. There are several pathological components in the background of the elevation of blood pressure following the reduction and failure of female sex hormone production. Among these components are lifestyle changes, reduced physical activity, growing body weight, increased sympathetic activity, higher RAS (renin-angiotensin system) influence and increased salt dependence of blood pressure seem to be the dominant factors. Contrary to earlier suggestions recent clinical findings have proved that estrogen or combined hormone replacement therapy did not increase but rather slightly reduced the blood pressure in menopausal and postmenopausal hypertensive women. Therefore, hypertension itself should not be the contraindication against carefully managed hormone replacement therapy. The therapy is frequently used for preventing severe osteoporosis in spite of the disappointing cardiovascular results of the WHI and HERS trials. In the Joint National Committee 7 there are no special recommendations which would strictly prefer one or another antihypertensive agents in the pharmacological treatment of postmenopausal hypertension. However doctors are assisted in their individual therapeutical decisions by certain clinical and experimental findings which refer to higher sympathic activity, enhanced RAS influence and increased salt dependency in the pathomechanism of postmenopausal hypertension.]

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