How Does Menopause Affect Heart Health?Print
OK, I confess. I am 45 and have started to notice signs of menopause—hot flashes, weird periods, backaches, restless sleeping, and on and on. It seems that all these little problems have come out of the blue.
And while they’re all relatively small issues that I can deal with, I know that I am now at higher risk of heart disease.
According to the American Heart Association, “Assorted changes in the body occur with menopause. Blood pressure starts to go up. LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, tends to increase while HDL, or “good” cholesterol, declines or remains the same. Triglycerides, certain types of fats in the blood, also increase.”1
And while that’s all part of the aging process, now’s the time to get serious about your health if you’ve been slacking. If you smoke, for example, work toward a quit plan. Not big into exercise? Just try to add a 20-minute brisk walk to your day. And don’t forget to eat well. Learn to cook or purchase healthier meals, avoid processed foods (i.e., chips, store-bought cookies, crackers, boxed cereals, prepackaged meals, easy microwavable foods, etc.), and add plenty of fruits and veggies to every meal.
Equally important is to add three key vitamin and mineral supplements to your diet2 :
• Essential fatty acids like EPA and DHA—Not only do potent omega-3s (fish oil) help with all the mood swings that occur naturally with menopause and perimenopause, but they have been shown to reduce hot flashes and the chances of heart disease.
• Vitamin D—Chances are that if you’re going through menopause, you are experiencing bone loss. This vitamin has been known to help strengthen bones and should be taken in conjunction with…
• Calcium—This is essential for women experiencing declines in estrogen. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that women over 50 get 1,200 mg of elemental calcium per day. Straight-up calcium supplements are not the best choice. Make sure your calcium supplement includes vitamin K2. For more info on this type of “smart” calcium, read here.