We are excited to be partnering with Life Line Screening to provide this important health preventative tip.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of men and women worldwide, regardless of gender or age. In women, the chance of experiencing a cardiovascular event rises after menopause. Consequently, some women wonder what they can do to reduce their risk or improve their chances of a good outcome if they suffer from a cardiovascular event.
With the proper knowledge, women can progress through menopause and beyond while remaining healthy. Understanding the factors surrounding a life change is essential to managing risks effectively. Menopause may be a natural process, but it’s also associated with a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.
How Many Women Experience Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular disease can affect women at any age, although it is typically less prevalent in women than in men. In addition to being less common among women, adverse cardiovascular events occur at a later age. Nonetheless, cardiovascular disease affects one out of every 16 women over 20. Additionally, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. With age, a woman’s chances of developing cardiovascular disease increase.
Biological Changes That Occur With Menopause
A woman’s body produces less estrogen during menopause, usually at 54. Estrogen is believed to have a protective effect on the cardiovascular system, including the lining of the blood vessels. Less estrogen in the body may cause the blood vessels to become stiff and not react easily to changes in blood volume or blood pressure. As that occurs, blood pressure may rise, and plaque may accumulate in the arteries.
In addition to genetics and a lower estrogen level, other factors contribute to a woman’s postmenopausal cardiovascular risk. For example, diet and exercise are also risk factors, as well as how a woman takes care of herself during this time. In addition, many women gain weight during menopause, which increases their chances of developing cardiovascular disease.
Older Women Have Different Cardiovascular Symptoms Than Men
Chest and jaw pain are common cardiovascular symptoms in men. Most people are taught to watch out for these symptoms. These symptoms are less common in women, but they can still occur. Instead, women are more likely to experience back and shoulder blade pain, nausea, fatigue, and shortness of breath. It is important for women experiencing these issues or feeling “off” to speak with a medical professional to determine if they have cardiovascular disease or a related condition.
How to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease After Menopause
There are several ways that women can prevent cardiovascular disease.
Eating Right. A healthy diet is one of the most effective ways for women to reduce cardiovascular risk during menopause. Although they shouldn’t avoid treats altogether, choosing a plant-based diet and reducing fats, carbs, and sugars can help keep their cardiovascular system healthy.
Exercising. It is also important to get enough exercise to reduce risk. Women who exercise at least 150 minutes a week, eat a healthy diet, and maintain a healthy weight are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease and its adverse effects. For most women in menopause and beyond, maintaining healthy cardiovascular habits is worth doing, even if there isn’t a guarantee of avoiding illness.
Managing Stress. Mental health is an area that women often neglect. Being mentally healthy can reduce the risk of heart disease and improve cardiovascular health. Sadly, some women suffer from depression and anxiety during menopause, negatively affecting many bodily functions. Getting help from a mental health professional is the best course of action.
Regular Health Screenings. It is important for menopausal women to work with their doctors to keep their cardiovascular disease risk as low as possible. If cholesterol, blood sugar, weight, and blood pressure are checked regularly, problems can be detected early and dealt with before they become more serious. There may be a need for medication or lifestyle changes, but they’re well worth it for keeping cardiovascular diseases at bay and contributing to a long, healthy life.
The Benefits and Value of Regular Health Screenings
The importance of regular health screenings for postmenopausal women cannot be overstated. A health screening with a healthcare provider is usually sufficient, but a more comprehensive approach might be beneficial. For example, a noninvasive screening may help detect plaques and other cardiovascular issues.
Finding these issues when minor is an excellent way to prevent them from becoming significant problems. It is always better to treat something promptly than to wait until it reaches a critical point before acting. For the best cardiovascular health possible, women going through menopause should be proactive about their medical needs.
Health Screenings Can Help Detect Cardiovascular Risk
One excellent way for women to learn about their risk for cardiovascular disease is to have a comprehensive health screening. Life Line Screening offers a comprehensive assessment panel that determines your risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Life Line screenings can detect:
- A buildup of plaque in the carotid arteries
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
- Atrial fibrillation
- Hypercholesterolemia (high blood cholesterol)
- Peripheral Artery Disease
Armed with the knowledge from a Life Line screening, women can see their doctors and determine whether some medications or procedures need to be part of their future to reduce their risk of cardiovascular issues.
Moving into menopause doesn’t have to mean cardiovascular disease. With a healthy diet, exercise, and the right screenings and treatments, women can improve their cardiovascular system and chances for a longer, healthier life.