The Heart of the Matter
A healthy blood supply flows freely but sometimes blockages can occur (as in a blood clot) or the veins become furred up (like the inside of a kettle). If one of these happens to you, you are at risk of suffering either a stroke or a heart attack.
Heart and circulatory disease, or cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a more common cause of death for women in most countries of the world than osteoporosis and cancer combined.
What has this to do with the menopause?
Heart disease is a degenerative disease linked to lifestyle factors, and when it occurs, it is because problems have been building up for years. Menopause offers the ideal opportunity to review your particular lifestyle, and so reduce your risk.
- High blood pressure
- A family history of heart disease
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Psychosocial factors. Stressful situations, depression and social isolation have been linked to increased risk.
- High blood cholesterol
As we women age, our pattern of risk changes. On average, women acquire heart disease about 10 years later than men. It is unusual for a stroke or heart attack to occur before we are in our 60s.
Reducing Your Risk
- Include more oily fish, nuts, seeds and oils in your meals.
- Eating fish three times a week reduces the risk of CVD
- Try to stay within an appropriate weight range for your height
- Stop smoking.
- Eat more soya.
- Eat more fresh vegetables and fruit
- Take Vitamin E supplements
- If you have a disability which prevents you from taking active exercise, try to arrange regular physiotherapy, massage and hydrotherapy sessions.
DID YOU KNOW?
A study by scientists at Cambridge University and Papworth Hospital, UK, in 1996 found that a daily dose of Vitamin E reduced the risk of having a heart attack by 75%.
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is Largely Preventable
This has been successfully demonstrated by a community-wide heart health programme carried out in the Finnish region of North Karelia,
where over a period of 20 years CVD mortality fell by around 70%.