Statistics show that cardiovascular disease in adulthood affects men to a greater extent. Women under 50 years of age are significantly less susceptible to cardiac pathologies. However, with the onset of climacteric changes – menopause and heart problems begin to go hand in hand. What is the reason for this? How to reduce risks?
Female Sex Hormones and Women’s Health
Hormones are a necessary component of the human body, which largely determines the nature of the processes taking place in it: from the development and work of various organs and systems to the formation of moods and manifestations of feelings. Sex hormones provide not only the puberty of a person and the normal functioning of their reproductive system, but also perform other important tasks. Menopause and heart problems can be prevented.
Female sex hormones, the most important of which are estrogens and progesterone, in addition to their direct functions, are involved in processes such as:
- lipid metabolism (maintaining normal cholesterol, inhibit atherosclerosis, preventing the development of menopause and heart problems);
- water-salt metabolism;
- bone growth and ensuring its strength;
- maintaining healthy skin, mucous membranes, and hair;
- the functioning of the nervous system.
Many organs (heart, brain, liver, bladder, etc.) contain receptors through which sex hormones regulate their work. In the case of heart, they prevent menopause cardiovascular disease.
Can Menopause Cause Heart Problems?
During the period of extinction of the reproductive function, changes occur in the work of all systems of the woman’s body. First of all, bones, heart (menopause and heart-related problems), and blood vessels suffer. The increase in cardiovascular disease at this stage is due to a gradual decrease in the production of sex hormones and a violation of the processes taking place in the body, in the normal course of which these hormones are involved.
Decreased estrogen levels negatively affect cholesterol metabolism. It was experimentally proved that during menopause, the amount of low-density lipoproteins (“bad” cholesterol) rises from 10 to 16%, total cholesterol increases by 6-9%, and the concentration of triglycerides (fats) increases by an average of 11%, which significantly increases risk of developing atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease – heart problems and menopause correlation.
Violation of lipid metabolism contributes to increased growth of adipose tissue, which is one of the main risk factors for type 2 diabetes, in the presence of which menopause and heart problems are recorded 2-5 times more often. So, 80% of patients with diabetes suffer from arterial hypertension, 12-22% – from chronic heart failure.
The cessation of menstruation in the menopause promotes blood clotting, which creates the prerequisites for increased thrombosis and often are the reasons for menopause and heart problems.
Estrogens affect the functioning of the central and autonomic nervous systems. Due to a violation of the conductivity of the nerve impulse due to a deficiency of these hormones, malfunctioning of the vessels occurs. Their spasm causes, in particular, discomfort in the heart, angina pectoris. Vascular spasm entails an increase in blood pressure.
Violations of the autonomic nervous system affect the rhythm of heart contractions, which can be manifested in such menopause and heart problems like an increased heartbeat, tachycardia attacks or interruptions in the work of the heart.
Menopause and Heart Disease Prevention
Menopause is a natural stage in a woman’s life. But, since hormonal restructuring is a serious burden on the body and affects the functioning of all its systems, it is necessary at this time to carefully treat your health. Such an attitude presupposes, first of all, regular preventive examinations by a gynecologist and therapist, if necessary, seeking the advice of other specialists: an endocrinologist, cardiologist, neurologist, and psychotherapist.
To avoid the appearance of menopause and heart problems tandem and maintain the health of the heart and blood vessels during this difficult period, it is important to lead a proper lifestyle, for which it is necessary to:
- alternate rationally loads and rest, not overwork;
- sleep at least 8-9 hours, not stay up till late;
- pay attention to feasible physical activity, in no case overloading yourself; it can be walking or cycling, swimming, dancing, gardening, light morning exercises, etc.;
- spend as much time as possible in the fresh air (optimally – 2 hours a day);
- give up bad habits: smoking, abuse of alcohol, coffee, and energy drinks intake;
- avoid stress.
Menopause and Heart Disease Diet
The prevention of emerging women’s heart problems during menopause requires compliance with certain nutritional rules. From the diet during this period, it is better to exclude or significantly limit fatty, fried, and salty foods, the so-called fast carbohydrates (butter baking and sweets), ready-made store food.
Preference should be given to low-calorie foods rich in fiber, vitamins, macro- and microelements (vegetables, fruits, legumes, and cereals). Fish (especially fatty varieties), seafood and vegetable oils (except palm) are very useful for the heart. Proteins must be included in the diet. It can be low-fat varieties of meat and poultry, rabbit, fish, nuts, seeds, milk, eggs. Food intakes should be full, balanced, regular, but without overeating.
Heart Problems and Menopause Preparations
Painful manifestations during hormonal changes can have varying degrees of intensity. The threat to a woman’s health can also be different. Depending on the clinical picture, in each case, the doctor determines the method of treatment. Hormone medications may be prescribed to make up for hormone deficiency. They are effective protection for the heart and blood vessels (menopause and hert disease). Only a doctor can prescribe them according to the results of the examination and analysis.
During this period, antispasmodic, antihypertensive and sedative drugs have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system:
- Preparations based on hawthorn relieve nervous excitement, lower blood cholesterol, normalize blood pressure and improve blood supply to the heart muscle.
- Valerian is successfully used in the complex therapy of cardiovascular disorders (menopause and heart related problems), helps reduce the heart rate and widen the coronary vessels.
During menopause, a woman’s body also needs an increased amount of vitamins, macro- and microelements. To protect the heart, any multivitamin preparations containing vitamins A, C, B, E, D, and other components are suitable. They beneficially affect the condition of the heart and blood vessels, increase the adaptive capabilities of the body.