February is Healthy Heart Month and this week is Valentine’s Day, so I thought I would wear red and remind you to take care of your heart. This is especially important for women our age. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women – more than all cancers combined. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes.
Go Red ™ For Women
For more than a decade Go Red™ For Women, the AHA’s national movement to end heart disease and stroke among women, has fought for equal health opportunity for women. They wear red during February, share stories of survival and advocate for more research and swifter action for women’s heart and brain health. They’re focused on changing the culture to make it easier for women and their families to live healthier lives.
Penn Medicine MD Shares Tips For A Healthy Heart
This year to learn more about women and heart disease I reached out to the experts at Penn Medicine – Heart & Vascular Center. Nazanin Moghbeli, MD, MPH, clinical assistant professor of medicine and associate director of women’s cardiovascular program at Penn Medicine, provided an excellent overview for post 50 women and I’m pleased to pass it on:
It is no secret that heart disease risk factors increase as you age. When a woman reaches menopause, her body goes through a number of changes and research shows that heart attack and heart disease risk spikes during and after this time. A decline in estrogen is thought to be a major factor for why women have a greater risk of developing heart disease once they are post-menopausal.
It’s not that menopause causes heart disease, says Dr. Moghbeli,
Menopause causes “several things to change in a woman’s physiology, and some of those changes can lead to heart disease,” Dr. Moghbeli explains. “The lipid profile of women actually starts to change, so that cholesterol starts to go up. And higher cholesterol can put you at higher risk for heart disease,” she says. “That happens pretty immediately after menopause.”
At the same time, blood pressure also begins to rise.”The blood pressure is not directly related to menopause. It’s kind of related to the aging process,” Dr. Moghbeli says. “But those two factors—the blood pressure and the cholesterol rising—can increase the risk of heart disease.”
HOW DO YOU REDUCE HEART DISEASE RISK IN THE TIME SURROUNDING MENOPAUSE?
During menopause and post-menopause, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing a heart condition, including: Continue reading