Maintaining Cardiovascular Health during Menopause
Heart disease and stroke are the leading killers of both men and women globally. One in three American women will die from heart disease, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) kills more women than men despite the improvements in diagnosis, prevention, and therapy.
The Kupperman Menopausal Index, also known as KMI, is used to assess the prevalence of menopausal symptoms and the effectiveness of various treatments for those symptoms.
Similar to men, women’s risk of CVD rises with age. However, this process begins somewhat later in females. It is after menopause that women are most at risk for cardiovascular disease. In the years immediately following menopause, cholesterol levels have been shown to rise. Having menopause occur too soon is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Threat Elements for Cardiovascular Disease
Several variables are linked to cardiovascular disease. Some are fixed, whereas others are adaptable. Heart disease risk factors include things like age, gender, and race that cannot be altered.
Tobacco smoking is the most crucial factor when it comes to preventing cardiovascular disease in women. Heart attacks are two to six times more likely among female smokers than nonsmokers. But there’s good news: a woman’s risk of heart disease and other health problems swiftly lowers when she quits smoking, regardless of how long or how much she has smoked.
The concentration of Blood Pressure
The blood pressure is considered normal when the higher number (systolic pressure) is less than 120 mm Hg and the lower number (diastolic pressure) is less than 80 mm Hg. Systolic blood pressure more significant than 130 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure greater than 80 mm Hg is clinically defined as high blood pressure (hypertension). Women whose BP consistently rises over these parameters should seek medical attention. A staggering 41% of postmenopausal women and more than 75% of American women over 60 have hypertension, making it one of the most frequent health problems experienced by women today as they age. Because high blood pressure often has no apparent symptoms, monitoring it regularly is crucial.
Sometimes, high blood pressure can be controlled by:
- Preventing and managing weight gain
- Adding more produce, fiber-rich grains, and low-fat dairy to one’s diet
- Reducing intake of salt and alcohol
- Regularly engaging in physical activity
If changing your lifestyle isn’t enough to lower your blood pressure, you should consider medical treatment. Constant monitoring is required to maintain safe levels.
Cholesterol levels that are too high pose a substantial threat to cardiovascular disease. Plaque formation on the arterial interior has been linked to elevated blood cholesterol levels, notably low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). In extreme cases, plaque can completely obstruct blood flow. A heart attack happens when a blood artery in the heart becomes clogged. A stroke occurs when a blood artery in the brain becomes blocked. Reducing levels of LDL-C (“bad” cholesterol) is a primary goal of cholesterol treatment.
Doctors have previously relied on cholesterol ranges and objectives when determining cardiovascular disease risk and therapy. Factors including age, race, smoking history, diabetes diagnosis, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels are now routinely measured as part of a comprehensive risk assessment that may estimate both immediate and future danger.
Eating a heart-healthy diet, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy body weight are all effective ways of controlling cholesterol levels through lifestyle modification.
Treatment with statin medicines may be suggested for patients at elevated risk for CVD (to determine your 10-year risk for CVD, see www.cvriskcalculator.com). If any of these conditions apply to you, the American Heart Association suggests you discuss statin medication with your doctor to learn more about the potential advantages and potential drawbacks.
Type 2 diabetics are at far higher risk for cardiovascular disease than the general population. It’s crucial to take preventative measures like managing your weight and food to stave against diabetes, as these are within your power to change.
Cardiovascular health is improved by regular physical activity, especially aerobic exercise. Regular exercise in midlife helps women maintain a healthy weight, blood pressure, and glucose level and improves their cholesterol profile. Women should do at least 75 minutes of intense activity per week or 150 minutes of moderate exercise (like brisk walking) every week. Sessions of at least 10 minutes can be spread out throughout the week. It would help if you also did 20-minute resistance training twice or thrice weekly.
To keep your heart healthy, it’s crucial to keep your weight where it should be. Losing as little as 10 percent of body weight can dramatically improve health outcomes for overweight women. Diet and exercise are most effective when done together. It’s suggested that women who want to lose weight or keep it off engage in moderate-intensity physical activity for 60–90 minutes most days of the week.
- Pick an eating plan that incorporates
- A wide selection of produce (more than 4.5 cups per day)
- High-fiber whole grains
- Specifically fatty fish (at least twice a week)
- Low-cholesterol, saturated-fat-free, trans-fat-free protein sources
- Low sodium content (less than 1.5 g per day)
- Lower alcohol intake (no more than one drink per day)
Although low-dose “baby” aspirin (81 mg) is often prescribed for women with preexisting CVD to lower the risk of a second stroke or heart attack, the benefits have not been convincingly established to outweigh the dangers. Women between the ages of 40 and 69 with a low risk for gastrointestinal bleeding, a frequent side event, are the only ones indicated for this procedure. You should see your doctor before beginning aspirin medication to determine the benefits and potential hazards.
Hormone treatment (HT) may assist with menopausal symptoms, but it should never be used for cardiovascular disease prevention. The influence of systemic HT on CVD risk depends on age and the length of time since menopause. Women in the 50-59 age range who are within ten years of menopause had the best outcomes. Some forms of HT have been linked in studies to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, blood clots, and stroke.