When you're nearing menopause, your body goes through many changes due to extreme changes in your hormones. Although night sweats, hot flashes, and mood swings may seem like the worst aspects of menopause, heart disease can creep up on you unexpectedly.
Our Vein, Heart, and Vascular Institute team understands the changes your heart goes through when you're in menopause. Dr. Hesham Fakhri and Dr. Abdulghani Saadi are our two heart and vascular care specialists who help you deal with heart disease when it strikes.
Menopause and your heart
Cardiovascular disease doesn't discriminate and affects women just as much as men. Your chances of developing heart disease during menopause are high, especially if you have any of the following risk factors:
- Inactive lifestyle
- High cholesterol
- Family history of heart disease
These risk factors, along with increasing age and menopause, are a recipe for disaster in your heart. Hormones play a significant role in your overall health, which is why menopause increases your risk for heart disease.
During menopause, your ovaries produce less estrogen, increasing your heart disease risk. When paired with other factors like obesity and family history, your risk exponentially increases for a heart attack and other heart conditions.
Warning signs of heart disease
Because of the many symptoms that plague you during menopause, it's hard to pick out other signs of trouble. But between the hot flashes and the mood swings, be aware of the warning signs of heart disease, some of which include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme fatigue
- Indigestion or stomach discomfort
- Feeling overall ill
- Arm or jaw pain
Experiencing any of these symptoms could be a warning sign from your heart that something's wrong. Seek help immediately if you're concerned about any signs of heart disease.
Preventing heart disease during menopause
We understand how your body changes as you age. As you get closer to menopause, you must make lifestyle changes to stay healthy and reduce your risk of heart disease.
To keep your heart healthy and performing its best, we recommend that you:
Smoking and tobacco are some of the most significant factors that increase your risk for heart disease. Whether in menopause or nearing that age, you should avoid smoking and being around secondhand smoke to reduce your heart attack or stroke risk.
Exercise is one of the best lifestyle changes you can make to prevent heart disease. Regular exercise keeps your heart healthy and helps you cut down on other risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, and excess stress.
Eat a healthy diet
You’ve probably heard the expression, "You are what you eat." Your diet plays a prominent role in your heart health. During menopause, it's especially vital to eat a healthy diet full of whole foods and low in saturated and transfats.
Watch your weight
Obesity puts a lot of strain on your heart and leads to heart disease. Weight gain is typical during menopause, increasing your risk for heart problems.
Exercise regularly and eat well to maintain a healthy weight and decrease your risk of suffering from heart disease later on.
See your doctor regularly
Regular checkups throughout life are essential, especially as you get older. Menopause presents many challenges to your health, and seeing your primary care doctor regularly keeps you up to date on your health status.
If you're nearing menopause and are concerned about heart disease, don't hesitate to call one of our offices in Wesley Chapel, Sun City Center, or Tampa, Florida, today or schedule an appointment online.