Every year, on 18th October, the world comes together to observe World Menopause Awareness Day. This year, the spotlight is on menopause and cardiovascular health, emphasising the critical connection between menopause and heart health. Throughout the entire month, the focus remains on educating, empowering, and supporting women as they navigate this natural phase of life.
In recent years, the conversation around women’s health has expanded to encompass various stages of life, and one pivotal phase that deserves special attention is menopause. As we approach World Menopause Awareness Day on 18 October 2023, and the entirety of World Menopause Month, it’s essential to understand this significant transformative phase.
Menopause, often mistaken as a singular event, is actually a process that begins with perimenopause, a transition period that deserves as much attention as the final phase. In this article, we will explore the differences between perimenopause and menopause, while also exploring the connection between menopause and heart health.
Perimenopause vs. Menopause: Understanding the Difference
Perimenopause, the precursor to menopause, typically starts in a woman's 40s but can begin earlier for some. During this phase, the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen, causing various physical and emotional changes. Irregular periods, mood swings, hot flashes, and decreased fertility are common symptoms experienced during perimenopause. These fluctuations can be challenging, impacting a woman’s quality of life and overall well-being.
Menopause marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years, occurring when a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months. The average age of menopause is around 51, but it can vary widely. Along with the absence of periods, it brings about various changes in the body, such as night sweats, vaginal dryness, and changes in sleep patterns due to hormonal imbalances, it also affects cardiovascular health. Research indicates that women going through menopause are at an increased risk of heart-related issues.
menopause and the heart connection
The theme of World Menopause Awareness Day 2023, focusing on cardiovascular health, draws attention to a lesser-known aspect of menopause. During menopause, ovaries cease egg production, leading to significant hormonal shifts in the body, including decreased levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Estrogen in particular plays a crucial role in heart health by regulating cholesterol levels and preventing the accumulation of fat in the arteries. It also maintains the integrity of blood vessels. When estrogen levels drop, fat can accumulate in the arteries, narrowing them. This escalation in arterial blockage heightens the risk of coronary heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Menopause also triggers other bodily changes that can increase the risk of coronary heart disease:
Weight Gain: Many individuals experience weight gain during and after menopause, especially around the waist area.
High Cholesterol: Cholesterol levels tend to rise post-menopause, elevating the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Impaired Glucose Regulation: Menopause can impact sugar level control (glucose regulation), raising the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and weight gain (metabolic syndrome).
Elevated Blood Pressure: Blood vessels may become less responsive to changes, leading to increased blood pressure.
Accumulation of Fat around the Heart: The amount of fat around the heart may increase after menopause.
Concerns about heart health often arise during menopause, prompting individuals to assess their risk. Consulting a doctor can provide personalised insights into individual risk factors. Additionally, proactive measures, including lifestyle adjustments and attentive heart care, can help manage and mitigate these risks.
Tips TO REDUCE THE RISK OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASe
Regular Exercise: Engage in aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, or swimming to improve cardiovascular health and manage weight.
Balanced Healthy Diet: Consume a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Try to avoid/elimiante processed foods and excessive sugar intake.
Give up Smoking: As smoking increases the risk of heart disease and quitting can have immediate and long-term benefits for heart health.
Stress Management: Practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises to reduce stress and promote overall well-being.
Regular Check-ups: Schedule regular health check-ups with your healthcare provider to monitor blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other heart disease risk factors.
- Prioritise Quality Sleep: Quality sleep is vital for cardiovascular well-being. Lack of sleep raises stress and blood pressure, increasing heart disease risks. Establish a calming bedtime routine, limit screen time, and create a comfortable sleep environment.
information and support
Navigating the challenges of perimenopause and menopause can significantly affect your daily life and overall well-being. Fortunately, there are resources available to provide support and information during this transition:
Visit the NHS Website: Find detailed information about menopause on the official NHS website.
Use the Balance App: Download this app for tailored support specifically designed for managing menopause and early menopausal symptoms. Log symptoms and keep track of cycle.
Explore The Menopause Charity: Access valuable information and support through this organisation.
These resources can provide the help and knowledge you need to navigate this significant life transition with confidence and ease.
the role of natural support
Perimenopause and menopause doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. A holistic approach that includes a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, and a balanced diet can make a significant difference. Additionally, natural supplements designed to support women during this transition can be invaluable.
Our perimenopause and menopause complex contains a tailored blend of natural ingredients aimed at alleviating the diverse symptoms experienced during these phases. This supplement combines powerful herbs like red clover, wild yam, milk thistle for hormone regulation. Vitamin D and magnesium are also included to support bone health, a concern for many women post-menopause.