Menopause is a milestone for all women.
It is a gradual process caused by the reduction of the hormone oestrogen that usually marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. Usually occurring during the ages of late 40s to early 50s, a woman officially reaches menopause when she has not had any menstrual periods for the last 12 months.
How can this affect your health?
Many areas of a woman’s health are affected by menopause, including cardiovascular health. Generally, a woman’s risk for developing cardiovascular diseases tends to increase after menopause. The loss of oestrogen can cause unfavourable changes in cholesterol levels and a potential build-up of fat in the arteries. This leads to a higher risk of hypertension and a greater risk of developing heart and circulatory disease.
It is important to note that not all women experience the same degree of cardiovascular risk during and after menopause. Genetic factors, lifestyle choices (such as diet, exercise and smoking habits) and pre-existing health conditions can all influence the impact of menopause on cardiovascular health.
How to support your health during menopause
Complete 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week, including walking, cycling and yoga. Alternatively, 75 minutes of intense physical activity per week including, running, swimming and strength training.
By focussing on building up strong muscles through resistance exercises and lifting weights, you can reduce weight gain, particularly around the abdominal area.
Eat a balanced diet
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Select whole grains including rice, pasta and bread
- Limit unhealthy fats, and choose low-fat protein sources such as fish, eggs, skinless poultry, legumes
- Reduce salt intake
- Be mindful of alcohol intake
- Control your portion size.
Manage your stress levels
Talk to your family, friends, work colleagues or speak to a healthcare professional about your worries, anxiety as a way of reducing menopause symptoms.
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Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Discuss potential HRT with your GP as a treatment used to help menopause symptoms. It replaces the hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which fall to low levels as you approach the menopause. Learn more about HRT and how it can help you.