Heart disease is the number health risk for women and the number cause of death. It far exceeds the typical things we think about as we age. Menopause is not the cause of heart disease, as some people profess, but menopause does create issues that can be contributing factors for heart issues. Menopause causes a drop in estrogen as our ovaries retire. Blood pressure climbs, along with cholesterol, and it sets us up for potential problems.
Heart disease refers to a variety of problems with our heart. It can refer to a heart attack, arrhythmias, and heart failure.
Heart Attack: When blood flow to the heart is restricted. Symptoms can include chest pain, back pain, neck pain, nausea, indigestion, dizziness or shortness of breath. You may also feel general discomfort or aching in your arm or upper body.
Arrhythmias: Better known as palpitations or fluttering in your chest. This is caused by electrical issues in the heart and cause the heart to beat faster or beat too slow.
Heart Failure: The heart is a muscle and when it struggles to get the oxygen pumped throughout your body, heart failure is the result. As your heart works faster and harder, it can begin to enlarge which creates more stress on the heart.
Some of these heart conditions do not have a treatment or a reversal, but they all can be adequately managed with environmental and lifestyle changes. Diabetes, obesity and inactivity all play a major role in preventing heart issues. Even if you are not diabetic, many women experience insulin resistance due to a poor diet, excess stress and not moving our bodies. Over time, this is just as damaging as diabetes.
Start today. Don’t look at the calendar, deciding on the best time to start a lifestyle change. Start today. Start right now. Do the next best thing for your heart. Choose heart healthy meals that are balanced in whole grains, clean proteins and leafy greens. Avoid desserts and snacks that drive up insulin.
Start today with a quick walk around the block. 10 minutes is a better start than doing nothing at all. So often, we have been conditioned to take the all or nothing approach. How about a reframe? Take anything is better than nothing approach. Day by day, you can take your anything to something life changing.
Start today to eliminate some bad habits. Begin to decrease alcohol intake or smoking. Little by little reduce your bad habits and replace with healthier options and habit.
Start today to be accountable for your good health. Make an appointment to see your provider at Madison Women’s Clinic. Work with your provider to establish a plan you can stick to. Lean on their expertise so you don’t get bogged down with all the voices on the internet. The internet is filled with bad ideas and poorly formed truths.
Aging does not mean you have to face disease. Aging really can be done with more positive outcomes than we have been led to believe. Be a proactive helper for yourself! Start today with a little heart health!