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What you should know about your heart when menopause arrives

8 symptoms of menopause and their solutions

In the world, 31% of deaths are responsible for cardiovascular diseases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In the United States in 2019, these diseases claimed the lives of more than 870,000 people, according to the American Heart Association. These numbers double the mortality generated by all types of cancer combined. In 2019, only 44% of women in the United States knew that these diseases were the main cause of death. Where it is considered that, on average, the first heart attack in women occurs at 72 years of age.

Menopause and the cardiovascular system

Menopause is a time of changes in women. Something to keep in mind at this stage of life is the cardiovascular system. Mainly because it is estimated that 5 out of every 100 women develop cardiovascular disease after menopause. Now, it is important to clarify that going through menopause does not cause cardiovascular diseases as such, but it marks a point in a woman's age where cardiovascular risk factors can accelerate and it is crucial to take them into consideration.

Cardiovascular diseases are multiple. They are generally a term for problems that occur in the heart and blood vessels. Due to the importance of blood in carrying oxygen, nutrients and waste throughout the body, any difficulty in the movement of this biological fluid represents a prevailing risk that must be treated and constantly monitored. According to MedlinePlus, from the NIH (National Institute of Health), we can recognize some, such as:

  • Atherosclerosis: accumulation of fat and cholesterol in the walls of blood vessels. This narrows the space through which blood can pass and eventually if it becomes completely blocked, for example, the arteries that oxygenate and feed the heart, a heart attack can occur.
  • Hypertension: increased blood pressure, which reduces the size of blood vessels and causes blood to move faster. This causes the heart to work much harder and can lead to coronary heart disease, that is, the heart becomes stiff or weak, not being able to perform its task correctly. Of 100 people who die from this cause, 52 are women.
  • Stroke: occurs when due to lack of blood flow to the brain it is unable to oxygenate and nourish itself. It usually happens because a blood vessel becomes blocked by a blood clot, one of the main risk factors is high blood pressure, as well as atherosclerosis. Of every 100 people who die from this cause, 60 are women.

Risk factors after menopause

An investigation into cardiovascular mortality in women between 50-103 years old, who have already gone through menopause, led by Dr. José Quesada from the Cardiovascular research group at the Miguel Hernández University of Elche in Alicante, Spain, points out that:

  • Eating vegetables just once a week as opposed to 3 times a week increases the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 78%.
  • Tobacco consumption, for its part, increases the risk of mortality by 82%
  • Sleeping a lot, more than 9 hours, increases the risk of mortality by 80%
  • Having activity mainly sitting most of the time leads to almost 300% risk in postmenopausal women

Along with these, the WHO recognizes that other risk factors are:

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Sleep apnea

What measures can be taken to enjoy this happy stage?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the ideal is to have a healthy lifestyle throughout all ages, but mainly the focus should be placed after menopause, because the possibilities of increasing levels of overweight, accumulation of plaques in the vessels and hypertension increases. So to keep your arteries healthy you should:

  • Give up smoking
  • Have a balanced diet, consuming healthy foods
  • Exercise regularly
  • keep a healthy weight
  • Control and maintain healthy blood pressure
  • Control and maintain healthy blood cholesterol and glucose levels
  • Visit your family doctor regularly.
"Because prevention is better than cure"

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