Heart disease risk rises for everyone as they age, but for women symptoms can become more
evident after the onset of menopause.
Menopause does not cause cardiovascular diseases. However, certain risk factors increase
around the time of menopause and a high-fat diet, smoking or other unhealthy habits begun
earlier in life can also take a toll. Menopause is a natural phase of a woman’s life cycle. When
they approach menopause, it is important of woman, to really take a stock of their health.
Estrogen levels may play a great role. A decline in the natural hormone estrogen may be a
factor in heart disease increase among post-menopausal women. Estrogen is believed to have
a positive effect on the inner layer of artery wall, helping to keep blood vessels flexible. That
means they can relax and expand to accommodate blood flow.
If you’ve followed a healthy lifestyle and continue doing so at menopause, your risk for heart
disease and stroke is lower. Family history also contributes a major role.
Women should take care of their heart through regular exercise and good nutrition and by
eliminating unhealthy habits like smoking, which may contribute to early menopause, increase
the risk of blood clots, decrease the flexibility of arteries and lower the levels of HDL cholesterol.
To get the nutrients, the American Heart Association recommends eating a dietary pattern that
* fruits, vegetables,
* whole grains,
* low-fat dairy products,
* poultry, fish and nuts,
* while limiting red meat and sugary foods and beverages.
Women should aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week to help prevent heart
disease, and 300 minutes or more weekly for a significant weight loss program, depending on
individual needs. Walking, cycling, dancing or swimming — activities that use larger muscles at
low resistance — are good aerobic exercises.