Menopause can bring many changes to a woman’s body and overall health. In addition to the reproductive changes we commonly associate with women in the post-menopause phase, there are additional health risks to consider as well. Today we’ll be focusing specifically on the link between menopause and heart disease.
Once a woman reaches menopause (usually around age 50) her risk for heart disease increases dramatically. This is partially due to a lack of estrogen produced by a women’s body after she has gone through menopause. Lower estrogen levels have also been known to increase a woman’s risk for developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes; three conditions commonly associated with heart disease. For younger women who undergo early or surgical menopause, the risk for heart disease may also be increased.
Women who have gone through menopause should be aware of the following symptoms of heart disease and act accordingly if they begin to experience them:
- Pain or pressure in the chest
- Heart palpitations
- Consistent shortness of breath
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Jaw pain
- Swelling of the feet
There are a number of steps women can take to live a healthy lifestyle and reduce their risk of heart disease. The first steps are eating right and getting regular exercise. A diet consisting of many fruits and vegetables, plus whole grains and healthy proteins like fish and nuts is recommended. Daily cardio exercise, including walking, jogging, swimming or dancing can also be extremely beneficial to a woman’s long-term health. All women, but especially post-menopausal women, should avoid smoking.
At Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we understand certain factors that contribute to a woman’s health can be uncontrollable. This is why it’s important for women to understand what they can control and strive to live well and keep their overall health in mind as they age. If you have questions about menopause, please contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for additional news and updates about reproductive health.