October is World Menopause Month and this year’s theme is cardiovascular disease. NHS Ayrshire & Arran is taking this opportunity to once again get people talking about menopause and, specifically, how it can affect your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease is a general term describing conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels such as angina, heart attacks and stroke.
There are around 100,000 women in Scotland living with cardiovascular disease and it is one of the most common causes of death for women across the country. Despite this, heart attacks and heart disease are often underestimated and under-treated in women compared to men.
Here are useful links around menopause and heart health.
Lynne McNiven, NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s Director of Public Health, explains: “Before the menopause, women generally have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. But after the menopause, this risk increases.
“The hormone oestrogen helps regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle. It also offers some protection against heart disease by helping to control cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of narrowing of the blood vessels.
“During and after menopause, a woman’s body gradually produces less oestrogen than it used to. This can increase a woman’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease.”
There are several factors that increase a woman’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease. These include:
- being overweight
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol; and/or
- not doing enough physical activity.
Lynne adds: “It’s important for women to be aware of the risk factors that can affect their risk of developing cardiovascular disease. By identifying and managing risk factors early on you can help lower your risk of a heart attack in the future. A healthy diet, regular exercise, prioritising sleep and reducing stress are the foundations to a healthy lifestyle and can also help to reduce the severity of menopausal symptoms.”
As part of our World Menopause Month activities, NHS Ayrshire & Arran has teamed up with KA Leisure to help raise awareness of our ‘Ready steady menopause’ message, and how changing hormones can affect heart health. This October, the KA Leisure Activator vehicle will be at the following Ayrshire venues offering advice and free blood pressure, blood cholesterol, glucose and body composition checks.
So why not pop along and find out more? Know your risks – take action – be prepared.
You can also look out for #readysteadymenopause on social media throughout World Menopause Month.
If you would like help to stop smoking, please contact the Quit Your Way service on 0800 783 9132 or speak to your local pharmacist.
For more information go to NHS Inform.