Menopause And Cardiovascular Disease

Heart disease is most commonly associated with men, but statistics show that it is actually the most common killer of women. Half of women aged over 50 die from heart-related problems; menopause, which usually occurs around the age of 50, increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. Other risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, drinking heavily, family history and living a sedentary lifestyle.

There is evidence to support the notion that women who have gone through the menopause are more likely to develop heart problems and experience heart attacks and strokes because they are more likely to have obstructed arteries; if blood is unable to flow freely trough the vessels, this prevents oxygen from being transported around the body, increasing the risks of strokes and heart attacks.

In order to reduce your risk of suffering from heart disease after menopause, there are some simple steps you can take, including:

  • reducing your intake of saturated fats and sugar
  • exercising regularly (4-5 times per week)
  • avoiding smoking
  • drinking no more than the RDA (recommended daily allowance), which is 2-3 units per day for women
  • eating a healthy diet
  • having your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly (ask your GP for more information)
  • maintaining a healthy BMI (this is a measurement used to assess your body weight in relation to your height; a healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 25 for a woman)
  • losing weight if you are overweight or slimming down on your waist if your waist measures more than 31.5 inches; carrying excess weight around your waist is particularly dangerous in terms of an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease
  • avoiding stress: stress is part and parcel of life sometimes, but prolonged periods of stress and severe stress can really take their toll on your health, so try to avoid stressful situations and use coping mechanisms to help you to feel more relaxed

If you are worried about your heart health, don't hesitate to ask your GP for advice; they can talk to you about risk factors and causes of heart disease and inform you about measures you can take to help to reduce your risk of heart problems. They may also recommend a health check, which can asses your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, pulse rate and other important factors, which may have an influence on your risk of developing heart disease.


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