Up until a few years ago, most cardiovascular studies were directed at older males.
However, in the past few decades, it has become very apparent that cardiovascular disease has become the leading cause of death in women over fifty years of age.
Recently, it has been discovered that certain occurrences during menopause, have an impact on the development of heart disease. The increase of certain fats within the blood, can lead to cardiovascular problems.
However, women who have a family history of heart diseases, or a previous blockage, will be at greater risk.
How Does Menopause Affect Heart Disease?
During menopause, the fat levels within a woman’s blood will increase. The fats are called lipids, and cholesterol levels are calculated by determining the number of lipids in a unit of blood.
There are two specific types of cholesterol that can affect the development of heart disease. These types are HDL and LDL. HDL, or high density lipoprotein, is beneficial. It works to clean the blood and eliminate excess fat.
However, LDL stands for low density lipoprotein. This component works to make fat stick to the walls of the arteries, within the body. When this fat causes the passageway to become blocked, a heart attack can occur.
After menopause, many women develop an increase in LDL levels and a decrease in HDL. Therefore the blood vessels can often become blocked. These increases and decreases are thought to occur due to a lack of the hormone estrogen.
Hormone Replacement Therapy and Heart Attacks
Recent studies have shown that hormone replacement therapy can also lead to an increased risk for the development of heart disease, or stroke. In 2002 a study was released, showing that several women, who had undergone hormone replacement therapy, were developing cardiovascular disease.
These women were given a combination therapy of progestin and estrogen, and later began developing blood clots, and suffering from heart attacks or strokes.
The treatment was then changed to remove the progestin, but the results were the same. For this reason, many doctors are now worried about the treatment options available for menopausal patients.
What Options Are Available For Treating Menopause?
If you suffer from menopausal symptoms, you are probably wondering what your treatment options are. Most physicians today recommend diet and exercise for treating the symptoms of menopause, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
A healthy diet that is low in fat will help to prevent the buildup of too much fat within the arteries. At the same time, exercise can help to eliminate the excess fat, within your blood stream.
Lowering blood pressure can also aid in preventing heart attacks or strokes. If blood is pushing against the arteries walls at an excessive pressure, you will be at a higher risk for strokes or heart attacks.
In addition, exercise has shown benefits in dealing with the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes or night sweats. Because exercise can increase the output of hormones, such as serotonin, many women feel better during menopause.