Saturday, June 11, 2016

Are Menopausal Women More Likely To Have Heart Disease?

There is a common belief that women are less likely than men to have heart disease because women are protected by estrogen, which is the primary female sex hormone. Estrogen is believed to have a positive effect on the inner layer of artery wall to help keep blood vessels flexible. That means they can relax and expand to accommodate blood flow. In reality, women are at risk too, even if they are pre-menopausal.

Menopause does not cause cardiovascular diseases. Although a decline in the natural hormone estrogen may be a factor in heart disease increase among post-menopausal women, it is certainly not the only reason. The body of a menopausal woman goes through other changes. Blood pressure may start to go up. Bad cholesterol (LDL) may also go up with a decline in the good cholesterol (HDL). Meanwhile, triglycerides may rise during and after menopause. A high-fat diet, smoking or other unhealthy habits begun earlier in life can also contribute to the rise in heart disease risk.

Women who have menopause may experience a variety of symptoms, including anxiety, palpitations and panic attacks. These symptoms may be benign and part of the hormonal changes during menopause. But symptoms that show a real heart condition include a sudden increase in heart rate or dizziness, light-headedness and blackouts when palpitations occur should not be ignored. Missed or skipped heart beats is relatively common and usually not serious, unless accompanied by other symptoms mentioned earlier or if there is a history of heart disease.

It has been known that women may have different symptoms of heart disease compared with men and can sometimes be missed. For instance, chest tightness or discomfort on exertion may be felt in men with coronary artery disease, while women with similar disease may have symptoms like tightness at neck, shoulder or back pain, nausea or shortness of breath. Very often, heart disease may be silent in women until they experienced a heart attack or heart failure. Hence, it is insufficient to rely on symptoms alone.

As a matter of fact, if a woman has any unusual symptoms indicating heart disease, even if they are not classic, and risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol level, smoking and a family history of heart disease, then she should have further cardiac assessment.

Several ways can help women to stay healthy during and after menopause. According to The American Heart Association, women experiencing menopause should eat healthy, whole foods (4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables and 6 to 8 servings in whole grains per day) and exercise at least 150 minutes per week to stay heart healthy.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this Article. Very usefull for me.