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Five Ways to Stay Heart Healthy in Menopause

Each moment of the day, we take for granted that our heart is beating without issue. Staying heart healthy in menopause is critical since cardiovascular disease is the number 1 killer of women at this age. Read on to see the five ways to stay heart healthy in menopause.

Your beating heart is one of your body’s most important jobs. Without you even thinking about it, the heart is helping deliver blood, nutrients, and oxygen through your blood vessels to your body’s tissues. This is necessary for you to stay alive and for your organs to function properly.

What Causes Heart Problems in Menopause?

Low estrogen levels in peri-menopause and menopause can take a toll on your heart, brain, bones, and urinary system. Menopause-related hot flashes and night sweats have been linked to a higher risk for high blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors.

Research also shows depression during this transition is strongly linked to higher cardiovascular disease risk. Your arteries become more vulnerable to disease with less estrogen, getting thicker and stiffer.

If you wait, your body will give you signs that you need to change or improve your habits and lifestyle. You can choose to slow down and pay attention to hear the messages your body is sending you. Or get ahead of the inevitable changes about to happen in your 40s and older and make habit change a top priority.

As peri-menopause and menopause arrive, your old ways of working out, eating, and managing stress may not be enough. Check out my Habit Change blog post on where to start or download Atomic Habits by James Clear and read or listen to how to get those good habits started.

Signs of Heart Trouble

  • High blood pressure: also called hypertension is when the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls is consistently too high. The heart is then working harder to pump blood. It can present with a headache, nosebleed, shortness of breath, dizziness, or blurred vision. Left untreated, it can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 or lower.
  • Cholesterol: as you age, your levels of good and bad cholesterol are changing.  High blood cholesterol is having too much cholesterol—a waxy, fatty substance—in the blood. Either high LDL cholesterol (bad) or low HDL cholesterol (good) —or both—is one of the best predictors of your risk of heart disease. HDL should be above 60 and LDL should be below 100.
  • Signs of a heart attack, not getting adequate blood to the heart blood vessels, can be pain in the neck, throat, jaw, upper abdomen, or back. Also, it can be felt as heaviness in the chest.
woman in white vest and black bikini with hand on chest connecting with her heart health

Five Ways to Stay Heart Healthy

  1. Increase your soluble fiber intake to 25 – 30 grams a day to reduce blood pressure, and inflammation and improve cholesterol readings.  Add these foods rich in fiber to your diet — apples, bananas, oats, peas, black beans, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and avocados
  2. Add anti-inflammatory-rich foods to your meals. Introduce one into each meal – nuts, seeds, salmon, beans, fruits, and grain. Also, lower your sugar intake.
  3. Get more exercise. Regular physical activity that you enjoy strengthens your heart muscle. This will improve your heart’s ability to pump blood to your lungs and your entire body. Adding a 45-minute walk daily will improve your health.
  4. Stop smoking. Smoking damages your blood circulation and your heart and increases your risk of developing coronary heart disease. 
  5. Discuss hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with your doctor if you’re just starting your peri-menopause/menopause journey. The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) will give you a list of physicians to support you in this conversation if your current doctor is not willing to prescribe HRT.
woman in red jacket riding on boat on lake during foggy weather gets in balance

Women’s Health Matters

More awareness of the differences between men and women when it comes to their health related to their hormones is needed. Understanding that women need different approaches to health concerns due to their unique changing hormones is necessary.

Making health choices early in your peri-menopause journey will help you stay ahead of health issues. It’s important to put small, consistent habits in place.

With obesity, heart disease, and diabetes rising in the United States, it’s time to make changes to improve your heart health. Your heart health is important and with adjustments in your lifestyle, you will have the energy and stamina to continue to live a long healthy life.

Reach out if you would like to learn more about how I can help you thrive and not just survive at this time in your life!

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