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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Menopause and Heart Health: Prevention Tips, Women’s day special

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Menopause signifies a significant stage in a woman’s life, marking the conclusion of her reproductive years. It denotes the cessation of monthly menstrual cycles, with the ovaries halting the release of eggs for fertilization. Typically occurring between a woman’s mid-40s to mid-50s, menopause brings about substantial hormonal changes, including a decline in estrogen and progesterone production.

Estrogen plays a vital role in shielding women from heart disease. It diminishes the risk of atherosclerosis by aiding in the removal of inflamed cells within blood vessels, thereby preventing plaque formation and blockages. Additionally, estrogen maintains artery flexibility and promotes favorable blood lipid levels by reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) and elevating HDL (good cholesterol).

Consequently, the decrease in estrogen levels post-menopause heightens the risk of heart disease due to the development of atherosclerosis, a crucial factor in numerous cardiovascular ailments. Hence, menopause becomes a pivotal period necessitating close monitoring of women’s health and the implementation of early intervention strategies to mitigate heart disease risk. Women post-menopause are also more prone to developing other conditions such as diabetes and obesity, further increasing the likelihood of heart attack, stroke, and related cardiovascular issues.

Preventive Measures
Maintaining heart health post-menopause entails a comprehensive approach encompassing hormonal fluctuations, lifestyle adjustments, and the management of additional risk factors or conditions. Here are some recommended steps to promote heart health:

  1. Healthy Eating: Adopting a diet abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats supports heart health. Limiting intake of saturated fats, cholesterol (found in cream, butter, and red meat), sodium (from added salt and processed foods), and added sugars is advisable.
  2. Regular Physical Activity: Engaging in regular exercise aids in weight management, reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and enhances overall heart health. Following NHS guidelines, adults should strive for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise weekly, supplemented by muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days.
  3. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Post-menopausal weight gain is common due to metabolic changes and shifts in body composition. Maintaining a healthy weight through balanced diet and regular exercise significantly lowers the risk of heart disease.
  4. Stress Management: Chronic stress contributes to heart disease. Practices like meditation and yoga can effectively manage stress levels.
  5. Quit Smoking: Smoking is a very major contributor to disease of heart. Ceasing smoking significantly reduces the risk of heart disease, irrespective of age or smoking duration.
  6. Regular Health Screenings: Routine check-ups aid in early detection and management of health issues. They facilitate monitoring of conditions like high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes, which are precursors to heart disease.
  7. Hormone Therapy: Hormone therapy may alleviate menopausal symptoms impacting daily life and potentially benefit some women in terms of heart risk. Decisions regarding hormone therapy should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider.

Women should take proactive measures to prioritize heart health post-menopause. Awareness of these preventive measures ensures that the post-menopausal years are not only fulfilling but also heart-healthy.

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