As you turn your gaze towards the next phase of your life, you are ready to face that task head on. You are on schedule with your mammograms, your pelvic floor training is just right – so bring them into menopause!
But have you thought about your risk of heart disease? Heart disease is the leading killer of women in the United States. They are responsible for 1 in 6 deaths in 2017. Here’s what you may not know about your risk of heart disease, which increases at the onset of menopause.
What is your heart disease risk?
The difference menopause makes
Let’s be clear: menopause doesn’t root cause Heart disease. But the changes in your body (as well as other lifestyle factors that you catch up with) make menopause a perfect place for an increased risk of heart disease.
Estrogen is believed to have a beneficial effect on the inner layer of the arterial wall by helping your blood vessels remain flexible so they can relax and expand to accommodate blood flow.
The decrease in naturally produced estrogen during menopause is then seen as one of the reasons for the increased risk. (Despite the benefits of estrogen, the American Heart Association does not recommend its use Post-menopausal hormone therapy hoping to reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke because studies just haven’t shown it to be effective.)
It is also common for people who have had normal cholesterol levels their entire lives to suddenly have higher levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) at this stage in their life. This has to do with the shift in hormones, but it is also influenced by that Weight gain and the increasingly sedentary lifestyle that many people have after menopause. (Menopause doesn’t sedate you, but it usually happens just before retirement age!).
Hence, it is important to keep track of your cholesterol during perimenopause and after menopause.
Consideration of family history and background
Aside from age, there are other factors that are beyond our control, such as family history and race. If you are from South Asian you are at greater risk of developing coronary artery disease. If you have African or Native American heritage, you are more likely to develop high blood pressure and have a stroke.
Also, if your parents have heart disease, the more likely you will develop it as you get older.
Take a look at your lifestyle
The top heart disease risks that you can control include tobacco smoking, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Inactivity and being overweight can pose risks to your heart health, as can too much stress and alcohol.
However, if you are concerned about how your weight or your drinking habits can affect your heart health, You’re welcome Talk to your doctor. Frequent, extreme changes in your diet, as well as trying to keep your drinking cold can be extremely serious (sometimes fatal).
Letting your doctor know what is going on (difficult as it can be at times) is a safe way to change your lifestyle.
An indication of how your heart attack symptoms may be different
When we think of heart attacks we often think of numbness in the arms and severe chest pain, but your heart attack symptoms may look a little different. Chest pain and shortness of breath are common for everyone when they have a heart attack. However, you are slightly more likely to experience back or jaw pain, nausea, and fatigue.
How to stay healthy
Being aware of your increasing risk early on is the best way to stay one step ahead with your heart health! That means finally giving up the smoking habit and making physical activity a part of your normal routine.
You should photograph for 150 medium-intensity aerobic activities or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week (or a combination of both) plus at least two days of light weight training per week. And no, that doesn’t mean having a very intense Saturday every week!
You can spread a few activities out – fast walking, aerobics, hiking, swimming, and biking are all activities that increase your heart rate.
Intensive gardening like raking leaves also counts! You can learn more about activities that will help keep your heart healthy, such as: CDC.
Lane Baumeister is an international Canadian writer with years of experience creating educational and entertaining articles dealing with intimate health and sexual wellbeing. When she is not into menstruation, she devotes herself to extremely good food and equally bad movies.