Menopause is a natural physiological process that every mature woman experiences. However, during this period, the body can decently “shake and fever”. In particular, this applies to the cardiovascular system.
All women know that the onset of menopause is accompanied by hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and headaches. But, it can also provoke more serious health problems, for example, the occurrence of the disease. However, if menopause is inevitable, then the appearance of coronary disease can be avoided. So, does menopause increase the risk of coronary artery disease? Yes, it does. However, why the cardiovascular system is at risk during the menopausal period?
- Firstly, a woman in menopause decreases the amount of estrogen that promotes vascular elasticity. The lack of this hormone affects the vessels is not the best way.
- Secondly, many women gain weight during this period. In the first 3 years after menopause, body weight increases by 2.3 kg, and after 8 years – by 5.5 kg. And that is on average.
- Thirdly, in every second lady during menopause appears hypertension. And this is a powerful risk factor for coronary disease, heart attack, and stroke.
There may be other predisposing points – diabetes, physical inactivity, smoking, a love of fatty and sweet foods.
Why Do Climacteric Changes Provoke Menopause Coronary Artery Disease?
With coronary artery disease, the blood supply to the heart muscle deteriorates, because of which it begins to receive less oxygen and nutrients. Most often, CAD occurs against the background of atherosclerosis, which manifests itself in the appearance of atherosclerotic plaques on the walls of blood vessels. These plaques also worsen the blood supply to the heart.
The onset of menopause is accompanied by a strong decrease in the production of female hormones, one of which is estrogen. It regulates the balance of cholesterol in the blood and prevents the development of atherosclerosis.
In addition, during the onset of menopause, vasospasm is often observed, which also provokes the appearance of atherosclerosis and the development of coronary artery disease menopause.
Many women do not even realize that they have heart problems, and chest pain is attributed to everything that is ever possible to imagine- fatigue, a magnetic storm, osteochondrosis, and even a quarrel with her husband. The heart, of course, can play pranks on a nervous basis. But, it’s important not to miss out on symptoms that indicate more serious problems MCAD.
Among them, there are such important indications:
- Shortness of breath. It can occur both during fast walking or climbing stairs and during calm movements.
- Arrhythmia. Heart failure, heart palpitations.
- Hypertension. Sudden occurrence of blood pressure rise.
- Angina pectoris. Pressing pains located behind the sternum, extending to the neck and left shoulder.
- Myocardial infarction. It looks like an attack of angina pectoris, but it does not stop with drugs. Myocardial infarction is always accompanied by very severe pain in the heart. This symptom indicates a peak in the development of coronary artery disease and in itself is a life-threatening violation of the heart muscle.
However, often the development of menopause and coronary artery disease is slow and in the early stages is almost asymptomatic. To identify the disease at the initial stage, it is necessary to regularly undergo a preventive examination by a cardiologist and therapist.
How to Avoid Menopause Coronary Artery Disease?
Despite the fact that menopause increases the risk of developing coronary artery disease and other diseases of the cardiovascular system, a woman can maintain heart health if she pays enough attention to herself. A menopausal patient has to bear in mind the following rules to prevent menopause coronary artery disease:
- Eat right. Exclude fried and fatty dishes from the menu. Do not eat foods that are too sweet and rich in light carbohydrates. Make sure that the body receives a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals. The patient needs to strictly monitor her diet, eat foods that contribute to the expansion and strengthening of blood vessels that do not contain harmful fats. In addition to food rich in fiber and protein, it is worthwhile to include honey, nuts, pomegranates, eggplant, citrus fruits, kelp (seaweed) in the diet.
- Move more. Moderate physical activity will strengthen the heart muscle and allow more blood to be pumped through it. Walking at least 40 minutes a day at an average pace is a must. It is also useful to do exercises 2-3 times a day.
- Avoid stress. Chronic stress dramatically increases the chances of “getting” a disease of the cardiovascular system.
- Drink at least 1.5–2 liters of water per day. This will reduce the risk of thrombosis (if there are no contraindications).
- Stop smoking: nicotine causes vasospasm and increases the risk of coronary artery disease menopause. For example, if a woman smokes up to 14 cigarettes a day, the risk of coronary artery disease increases 3 times. And if the whole pack – almost 6 times.
- Undergo a medical examination at least once a year. More often, if you smoke and/or you have diabetes. Note! If a general blood test shows an increase in cholesterol or sugars content, this may indicate a process of narrowing of the coronary vessels and, consequently, the development of menopause coronary artery disease.
- Watch your blood sugar and cholesterol after 55 years. A tonometer in a home medicine cabinet should be presented.
- Switch to fractional nutrition: eat 5-6 times a day in small portions. This will help control weight. Include more vegetables and fruits in your diet. White chicken, fish, and seafood are also welcome.
- Consult a cardiologist if blood pressure stays firmly above 140/90 mmHg, do not wait, when hypertension is complicated by shortness of breath, chest pain, and interruptions in the work of the heart.
You may need hormone replacement therapy during menopause. But, whether you’ll be prescribed such a cardinal method of supporting the body, the doctor must decide on the basis of the thorough examination.