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Navigating Cardiovascular Changes in Menopause

Podcast Episode 10 transcript.

Listen on: Apple, Spotify, Website

Today, I’m talking about cardiovascular changes in menopause.

Oestrogen provides a protective effect against cardiovascular disease, so after menopause, women’s risk for this disease increases significantly.

Menopause is associated with an increase in blood pressure, weight, obesity and cholesterol. 

It is important to view menopause as an opportunity to make lifestyle changes and proactively manage your health. Schedule at least annual check-ups and blood tests with your doctors. Make sure you check your BP regularly. Discuss your results with your nurse, doctor or practice pharmacist.

Research shows that there are a few simple and very effective lifestyle measures that help prevent heart disease.

One step is to minimise harmful substances like smoking and alcohol. Increase Physical Activity & eat a healthy diet to maintain a healthy weight. Being within a healthy weight range puts less stress on the heart and helps control blood pressure and blood glucose levels.

Regular physical activity also strengthens the heart and reduces stress. Small changes like walking instead of driving or taking the stairs instead of a lift will make a difference physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

Nutrient-rich foods, like colourful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, can help support heart health. Reducing your salt and saturated fat will have a positive effect on blood pressure and cholesterol levels. You can do this by having side salads with your dinner, swapping white bread for wholemeal bread, or swapping meat for fish and vegetarian meals once or twice a week. Adding berries and chia seeds to your yoghurt or cereal instead of honey or sugar helps blood sugar levels. Some supplements like garlic and phytosterols are thought to help maintain a healthy cholesterol balance.

Stress can increase heart rate, cholesterol and blood pressure. It can cause disorders in blood clotting, which can lead to erratic heartbeats (called arrhythmias) and possibly even heart attacks. Chronic stress can also affect the heart indirectly. How many people comfort-eat or have an alcoholic drink or smoke to calm them down? People who are worried or stressed tend to sleep poorly, exercise less and make unhealthy food and lifestyle choices, all of which hurt heart health.

As always, I encourage you to speak to your healthcare professional if you struggle. Chatting with friends or family, walking in fresh air or listening to a mindfulness podcast can help you cope with stress.

I hope you have enjoyed this episode on Cardiovascular Changes in Menopause and that you now understand how a decline in oestrogen makes women more prone to cardiovascular issues. I hope you feel inspired to ask for help, discuss HRT with your healthcare provider, and make additional changes to help you age healthily and actively.


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