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Your body changes as you go through menopause! And so does your heart disease risk…

by , 20 October 2014

Menopause doesn't CAUSE heart disease, reassures the American Heart Association. It's what you do in your younger years that increases your risk of heart disease when you hit menopausal age.

For instance, if you're heavy, don't get regular exercise and smoke before you reach menopause, your risk of heart disease is higher than women who are healthier.

If you're heading towards menopause, it's important to really look at the state of your current health, says Dr Nieca Goldberg who volunteers for the American Heart Association.

And with the average age women start going through menopause being 52, she recommends you do this as early as 40.

Here's why…

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Women across the world are dying from heart disease

 
Just a few years ago, heart disease was a man’s disease. You never heard of a woman dropping dead from it!
 
But things are changing.
 
The Heart Foundation says more than 8.6 million women die every year from complications of heart disease and many of them happen about ten years after menopause.
 
The cause?
 
A combination of bad lifestyle habits and the changes your body goes through during menopause.
 
One of the main culprits that affects your heart during menopause is the drop in your oestrogen levels, says a study posed by the National Institutes of Health.
 

As your oestrogen levels drop, seven processes take place that put your heart under strain

 
1.    Your fat distribution changes and you store more fat around your belly;
2.    You become more intolerant to sugar;
3.    The fat floating around your blood increases;
4.    Your blood pressure increases; and
5.    Along with that comes increased contractions of your artery wall muscles, further increasing the pressure;
6.    Disruption of the inner membrane of cells throughout your body; and
7.    Widespread inflammation.
 
All of these have a significant effect on your heart, so it’s no wonder your risk of heart disease shoots up when you go through menopause.
 
Now imagine how much more severe these changes will be if your system is already under strain because of the bad habits you had when you were younger.
 
Fortunately, there’s still hope!
 
And it’s never too late to take control of your heart health to keep your risk of heart disease as low as possible.
 
Here are three natural ways to do just that…
 
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Change your diet, fit in some exercise and take control of your health to lower your heart disease risk

 
Experts say you can even make significant changes to your heart health once you start going through menopause! But, if you’re only approaching that age now, it’s essential you make these changes today.
 
#1. Eat clean
 
One of the easiest ways to change your heart health is to change your diet. Instead of eating fast food, junk food, salty, processed and sugary foods, eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein and whole-grains.
 
You’ll notice how tasty everything is and how much variety you have in your cooking!
 
#2. Exercise
 
30 minutes a day is all it takes. WebMD.com says you can reverse the effects low oestrogen has on your blood vessels through exercise. It keeps them elastic and reduces the contractions causing your blood pressure to soar.
 
Even if you walk for 30 minutes five times a week, your health will benefit.
 
#3. Check in with your doctor
 
Whether you’re reaching menopausal age or going through menopause already, check in with your doctor so he can assess your heart health.
 
Ask him about your treatment options and ways to keep your heart in shape through your menopausal years.
 
While not every menopausal women will suffer from heart disease, as your body changes, so does your risk. Instead of ignoring it, take the necessary steps to ensure going through menopause doesn’t leave you with heart disease.

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