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Showing your heart some lurrrvvvv

Cardiovascular Disease and Menopause

So as well as all the other symptoms of menopause, one that’s lurking just behind the veil of menopause is the increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

If you’re wondering what that is, it’s a group of serious conditions that affect the heart.

  • Coronary heart disease (angina, heart attack, heart failure)

  • Stroke, mini-stroke

  • Peripheral arterial disease (affecting the limbs, usually legs)

  • Aortic disease

Menopause affects the heart? Eh??

Well, what is actually happening is that as women, we are protected from cardiovascular disease until we hit menopause. So in the absence of estrogen, the risk catches up with men, who start to develop cardiovascular disease around 10 years earlier.

The first signs of developing cardiovascular disease are high blood pressure and cholesterol. One thing to say is that it's very common to start seeing a rise in cholesterol once you go into perimenopause. Both blood pressure and cholesterol have no symptoms, so you are unlikely to know about them unless they are being monitored.

It’s not all doom and gloom, research shows that those who adopt lifestyle changes can reverse the damage.

If you have diabetes, then you might already know this increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, although genetics play a role, making the right food and lifestyle choices can have a huge impact.

Some big-ticket wins:

Limit alcohol intake

If you smoke, it’s definitely worth considering stopping.

Cram as many antioxidant-rich foods as you can into your diet (lots of fruits and vegetables, especially berries, dark chocolate (70%+ cocoa) coffee (in moderation:-))

Regular exercise

A note on mental health.

Mental health, specifically depression, is commonly found in those with cardiovascular complications. You can’t see or test for it, so it’s easy to ignore, you can even tell yourself it’s not real, but there are physical changes, the brain of someone who is depressed looks different.

Eating the most wholesome diet and doing regular exercise cannot compensate if this is the underlying cause.

Furthermore, doctors will not typically ask you about your mental wellbeing when it comes to managing your blood pressure or cholesterol. Which means we really need to own it.

If you want to know more, click here to register for a free 15-minute consultation.

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