In the heart of Asia, including Singapore, heart health during menopause is a subject that demands attention yet is often overshadowed by other health concerns. It brings with it significant changes that can affect cardiovascular health. Research from the American Heart Association and Johns Hopkins Medicine highlights the increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) during and after this transition, primarily due to hormonal changes, particularly the decline in estrogen.
In today's short article, we address how menopause can affect our cardiovascular health in the long run. Read on to find out how our heart gets affected by the physical, emotional and hormonal changes of our body through menopause!
Increased risk of heart disease
As we age, our bodies experience a decline in estrogen levels during menopause. These can lead to unfavorable changes in cholesterol levels, arterial stiffness, and blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart disease in women.
Studies have demonstrated that women who experience early menopause, either naturally or due to surgical intervention, are at a higher risk of developing heart disease compared to those who reach menopause at a later age.
Atherosclerosis and plaque formation
In addition to the above, menopause can also contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, which refers to the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Estrogen has been found to help maintain the flexibility and integrity of blood vessels, preventing the accumulation of plaque.
However, as we age, these hormonal levels decline. Decreased estrogen levels can lead to arterial narrowing, impeding blood flow to the heart and potentially causing heart attacks or other cardiovascular complications.
Luckily for us, advances in the medical sector and our understandings of the human body have allowed us to mitigate these effects very well...
And some of the best solutions are to...
Adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle
To mitigate the long-term effects of menopause on heart health, women should focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Regular physical activity is a cornerstone of heart health at any age. In the context of Asia and Singapore, incorporating daily exercises such as Tai Chi, yoga, or brisk walking in community parks can significantly benefit cardiovascular health. These activities not only improve physical well-being but also enhance mental health, reducing stress, which is a known risk factor for heart disease.
Asian diets, rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, offer a solid foundation for heart health. Incorporating soy-based products, which contain phytoestrogens, may help to some extent in offsetting estrogen loss. Reducing intake of salt and processed foods can also help manage blood pressure levels, crucial during the menopausal transition.
This also includes quitting smoking, monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels, managing stress, and seeking medical advice for any concerns or symptoms.
Have Social Support Networks
Building strong social support networks can help women navigate the challenges of menopause. We often host groups and workshops focused on women's health, providing a platform for sharing experiences and advice on managing menopausal symptoms and associated health risks. Join us HERE (scroll to the bottom) and show your interest now!
Regular health screenings are vital for early detection and management of heart disease risk factors. In Singapore, health initiatives and programs encourage regular check-ups, including blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels, especially for women approaching or undergoing menopause.
As Asia, including Singapore, continues to grapple with the rising prevalence of cardiovascular diseases among women, understanding the impact of menopause on heart health becomes increasingly important.
By adopting a holistic approach that includes dietary adjustments, physical activity, regular health screenings and social support, women can navigate this transition more effectively, ensuring a healthier heart during menopause and beyond.
Remember, taking control of your heart health is key to enjoying a fulfilling and healthy life beyond menopause!
This article is meant purely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as medical advice. Always consult a medical professional for specific advice on your health. This article has not been reviewed by any medical professionals or legal bodies.