What is the menopause?
Menopause is commonly known as a point in the menstrual cycle when periods become less frequent and eventually stop. It also includes the time in which women may experience emotional and physical changes. This is known as perimenopause, or menopausal transition. These symptoms may include but are not limited to, hot flushes, night sweats, difficulty sleeping and mood changes. This often happens around age 45, although the average age of the menopause in the UK is 51.
What is less well known and is vital to be aware of, is the link between menopause and heart disease.
How is the menopause linked to heart disease?
According to BHF, the oestrogen hormone that is produced in a woman’s body (as part of the menstrual cycle) can offer protection against heart disease, reducing the risk of heart attacks. It can also provide control of cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of plaques building up inside the artery walls. During the menopause, the body will produce less oestrogen than it is used to, which in turn means these health benefits are reduced, potentially resulting in narrowing of the coronary arteries – a marker of coronary disease.
Therefore, as a direct consequence of the menopause, the risk of being affected by coronary heart disease is increased due to reduced levels of oestrogen in the body. For the one in 100 women who experience early menopause (before the age of 40), there is a particularly high risk of premature heart and circulatory disease, so treatment for early menopause is important, alongside an awareness of the links between heart health and the menopause.
In addition, menopause can also cause palpitations due to the changing hormone levels. This can sometimes happen during hot flushes. Palpitations can be harmless, although sometimes themselves a symptom of a heart condition.
This relatively unspoken relationship between the menopause and heart disease can be quite daunting for those who are soon to go through the menopause, or who are already at that stage when they are going through menopausal transition.
The help that we can provide
At Venturi Cardiology, we are a team of Northwest based cardiologists who offer rapid diagnostic investigations that aim to answer any questions you may have about your heart health.
A time like the menopause may already be a turbulent one, so we wish to be as helpful as possible and allay your concerns with thorough assessments and quick results. We offer tests that are completed within a few hours and even have results ready on the same day. Our findings can indicate further steps that need to be taken, or they may in-fact show that your heart is healthy. Either way, these answers will help to settle any concerns you may have.
If there is anything you wish to address regarding your heart and the menopause,
put your health first and get in touch.