Are you Approaching Menopause? Let’s talk about your Heart.

menopause & heart diseaseThe various changes that a woman’s body encounters over time are too numerous to list. The major change that gets a great deal of attention, as it should, is the cessation of menstruation. Historically, jabs have been made about the monthly period, with women lamenting its exit from their lives for good. Once a woman enters into the stage of perimenopause and menopause, she may face concerns that she never imagined. One of those concerns is an increased risk for heart disease after menopause.

The Link between Heart Disease and Menopause

Why does one seem to accompany the other? There are a few key reasons:

  • Decreased estrogen. Estrogen is more than a sex hormone, it is a chemical substance in the body that lends flexibility to the arteries while also strengthening their walls.
  • Changes to cholesterol and blood pressure. According to research, a woman going through menopause is likely to have higher LDL, or bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol (HDL). Additionally, women in this category also tend to start noticing higher blood pressure readings.

Protecting the Aging Heart

Clearly, menopause is not a risk factor that one can modify. Even the use of hormone replacement has been questioned for its role in reducing heart issues among menopausal women. Fortunately, there are several modifiable factors that can help a woman protect her heart at every age. These include:

  • Routine screenings. Cholesterol should be checked about every 5 years, and blood pressure is typically checked at annual exams. Screenings are usually modified based on individual factors related to each patient, such as the presence of diabetes or other health conditions.
  • Make healthy food choices. The easiest way to know you are reducing your risk for heart disease is to choose fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and grass-fed meat over processed and packaged foods.

There is ample research that indicates the value of a healthy diet as it relates to heart health.

  • Manage stress. Depression and anxiety are not only related to obvious stressors; these conditions may also develop or worsen due to menopause and its hormonal shifting. The American Heart Association has said that depression can double a middle-aged woman’s risk of stroke. Stress management need not be complex; a walk in the park or time with good friends can do wonders.

We take heart health seriously, and we provide comprehensive care to patients facing cardiac issues. For personal care, call Premier Cardiology Consultants.

Posted in: Cardiac Arrest

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