From the menopause on, the differences regarding the risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease (in Spanish) are reduced between the sexes to the point that, after age 65, the indices are reversed and more cardiovascular events occur among women than men.
The decrease in oestrogen (female hormone) during the menopause (in Spanish) is significant as these hormones act at a cellular level improving blood circulation and controlling blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. We can say they act as “pro-coagulants” of blood.
As if this hormonal decrease was not enough, many women also suffer the consequences of hot flushes, a sudden sensation of heat that invades the whole body, which bothers and annoys and can occur at any time, even while sleeping. Approximately 3 out of 4 women experience hot flushes almost daily and it is known that African-American women suffer, on average, more hot flushes than the rest of their counterparts.
The good side of hot flushes
The good news is that hot flushes are not all bad, in fact they could be allies of cardiovascular health.
Research by Doctor Emily Szmuilowicz, an endocrinologist at Northwestern University, published in “Menopause”, shows that women who suffer from hot flushes may have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease or strokes.
Researchers reviewed the medical history of 60,000 women who participated in a 10-year follow-up trial (Women’s Health Study) in order to study the relationship between menopause symptoms and cardiovascular events.
The data revealed that women who experienced hot flushes at the onset of the menopause, when they were most common, had a 17% lower risk of a stroke and an 11% lower risk of suffering heart disease, comparing data with those who did not experience these symptoms. The association that underlies this relationship is still unknown, but evidence shows that, in most cases, hot flushes protect many women.
Prevention with healthy habits is essential
However, there are other more important factors than the hot flushes associated with the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, such as family history, dietary habits like having a varied and balanced diet, not smoking, daily physical activity or decreasing situations of anxiety and stress.
Without a doubt, the best way to prevent possible heart problems during the menopause is to adopt healthy habits. And in some cases, when you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol or if you have diabetes, it is necessary to carry out medical check-ups for specific pharmacological treatment.
During the menopause, more than ever, you have to adopt healthy habits that take care of your heart and allow you to enjoy a better quality of life.
And if you are among the thousands of women affected by hot flushes we hope that, at the very least, reading this post will help to cope with them a little better.
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