Managing Increased Risk Of Heart Disease From Menopause

Health Topics

A woman's risk for heart disease increases as she ages. The symptoms of heart disease become more noticeable for some women after menopause begins.

Menopause usually starts around age 54, as estrogen levels drop

It is believed that estrogen positively affects the inner layer of your artery walls by helping to keep blood vessels flexible, to handle blood flow well. Loss of flexibility in artery walls could raise your risk of heart disease.

Menopause causes other heart disease risk factors including:

If you have other risk factors as you start menopause, such as a high-fat diet or smoking, the combination can take a serious toll on your heart health.

You can help maintain your heart health with regular exercise and a healthy diet. It’s also important to end other unhealthy habits, such as smoking.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a good mix of healthy foods to help you get the nutrients you need:

  • Fish
  • Fruits
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Nuts
  • Poultry
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains

And you should limit your consumption of red meat, sugary foods, and sugary drinks.

Though you should always talk with your doctor before starting or changing your exercise routine, the AHA recommends general guidelines for women that can help prevent heart disease.

You should try for at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week. Activities such as walking, cycling, dancing, and swimming all use large muscles at low resistance and are good aerobic exercises that elevate your heart rate to help strengthen your heart.

The AHA also recommends that if you are going through menopause to get regular screenings to maintain heart health:

  • Blood glucose level check – at least every three years
  • Blood pressure check – at least every two years
  • Body mass index check – at every regular health care visit
  • Cholesterol check – at least every five years
  • Waist circumference check – as needed