It is inherent in nature that with age, usually starting from 45-48 years, ovarian function gradually fades. Biology says: “by this time, a woman should already have time to become a mother, it is time to switch to another mode.” Sex hormones are getting smaller, menstruation is becoming less common. After the last menstruation, a woman completely loses her ability to become pregnant. On average, it comes at 50-52 years of age. Since hormones are associated not only with the genital area, a decrease in the number of ovarian hormones – estrogen and follicle-stimulating hormone – also affects metabolism, blood circulation, nervous, and bone systems.
The risk of developing diseases such as atherosclerosis, angina pectoris, hypertension, osteoporosis, which should be treated seriously and subjected to proper therapy, is increased. So, women and atherosclerosis and menopause – what is this combination, and what should you know about it in order to continue to enjoy life?
In the climacteric period, the cause of heart and blood vessel diseases is very often atherosclerosis menopause – a chronic disease that develops as a result of metabolic disorders and leads to a change in the normal blood supply to internal organs and the development of coronary heart disease. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), in the United States, 32 million women suffer from coronary heart disease (compared to 30 million men), and more than 0.5 million women die from it each year. The risk of death from coronary disease is 31% of women in the postmenopausal period, as opposed to a 3% risk for hip fracture and a 4% risk for breast cancer.
According to statistics, atherosclerosis menopause is much less common than in men of the same age. The peak incidence in women occurs in the age period of 65-75 years.
Why Does Menopause Atherosclerosis Develop?
The development of atherosclerosis menopause is, usually, promoted by a group of main risk factors, which include:
- overweight or obesity;
- impaired lipid metabolism;
- changes in the hemostatic system;
- estrogen deficiency during menopause;
- diabetes mellitus;
- genetic predisposition;
- behavioral factors (overeating, abuse of fatty, rich in easily digestible carbohydrates food, smoking, high-stress levels, lack of physical activity).
Changes in the vessels are primarily associated with a violation of lipid metabolism and the deposition of atherosclerotic plaques on the inner surface of the arterial walls, the bulk of which is cholesterol.
With sufficient production of estrogen in the body of a woman, the optimal ratio between different groups of lipoproteins is maintained. With the onset of menopause, the protective effect of estrogen is lost, which increases the risk of developing menopause and atherosclerosis tandem several times.
In addition to regulating lipid metabolism, estrogens have a direct effect on the tone of arterial vessels, as well as the state of the coagulation and anticoagulation systems of the body. With the onset of menopause, blood thickening is noted, which increases also the risk of thrombosis and the development of embolism due to hypercoagulation.
How to Avoid Atherosclerosis Menopause?
Specialists suggest that women in menopause to stay active and positive should:
- adhere to the correct lifestyle, get rid of such a bad habit as smoking, do not abuse alcohol, and avoid stressful situations.
- determine the rational number of calories because it is different for each age category.
- abandon the excessive use of pork and eggs. Especially a lot of cholesterol is in the yolks – in one yolk it is as much cholesterol as in 200 grams of butter; excess cholesterol is also found in hard cheeses.
It is preferable to eat chicken, rabbit or turkey meat, veal, and fish. It will be useful to find out that some varieties of marine fish even remove cholesterol from the body. They also advise an active (with moderate (!), in accordance with age, physical activity lifestyle to avoid menopause atherosclerosis.
When to Start HRT to Prevent Menopause Atherosclerosis?
Cardiovascular disease (and as a consequence, the development of atherosclerosis menopause) among women remains the leading cause of death for women aged 56 to 65 years. Epidemiological and clinical studies reveal differences in the development of this pathology depending on gender. Until the age of 60, CVD is rarely the cause of death in women, however, after this age limit this illness begins to play a leading role, and by the age of 65-70, it corresponds to that in men.
HRT has been used for the prevention and treatment of menopausal disorders (including menopause atherosclerosis) for over 60 years and is today one of the well-studied and widely used methods of therapy. More than 100 million women currently have experience of using HRT in the menopause. However, most studies have shown that in the ratio of “benefit-risk” in patients taking sex hormones in order to treat menopause for a short time, the benefit certainly exceeds the risk.
Currently, no one doubts that HRT is the gold standard in the treatment of patients who suffer from hot flashes, night sweats, atrophic changes in the genitourinary tract, osteopenic syndrome, and improves the quality of life of this group of women. To prevent the occurrence and progression of atherosclerosis menopause vascular changes, HRT is indicated using estrogen-containing preparations.
For hormone therapy, natural estrogens (estradiol valerate, 17-beta-estradiol, etc.) are used in small doses in intermittent courses. Hormone therapy courses are prescribed by a gynecologist on the basis of research and the exclusion of contraindications and continue for 5-7 years with the goal of preventing menopause atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, and cerebral stroke.
Many studies have modeled the effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on adverse changes in the lipid profile caused by estrogen deficiency. It is believed that the effect of HRT on lipid metabolism provides 25-30% of the cardioprotective effect. The time of initiation of therapy is extremely important in this case: its appointment in the first 5 years of menopause can contribute to the reverse development of changes or prevent the development of menopause atherosclerosis.
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Things like atherosclerosis are worth considering in advance. Our hearts endure a lot of things and of course, weaken with age. We need to take care of our health so that such problems do not overtake us. Great article!