Hypertension in postmenopausal women: pathophysiology and treatment

High Blood Press Cardiovasc Prev. 2011 Mar 1;18(1):13-8. doi: 10.2165/11588030-000000000-00000.


Hypertension is the most common chronic disease in industrialized countries and represents the most common major cardiovascular risk factor after the fifth decade of life in both men and women. The prevalence of hypertension is lower in premenopausal women than men, whereas in postmenopausal women it is higher than in men. Mechanisms responsible for the increase in blood pressure are complex and multifactorial, including loss of estrogen, oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction, modification in renin-angiotensin system spillover and sympathetic activation. In addition, postmenopausal hypertension can be considered an isolated disease, more typical of elderly women, or part of the metabolic syndrome, which is indeed more common in early postmenopausal women. In particular, metabolic syndrome may be considered a potentially unfavourable prognostic factor in hypertensive postmenopausal women, because it seems to worsen the severity of hypertension and reduce the capacity to respond to specific treatments. This article summarizes the different causes of postmenopausal hypertension and the specific treatment recommended by guidelines for this condition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Hypertension / therapy*
  • Male
  • Postmenopause / physiology*
  • Sex Factors