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How to Prevent Heart Disease After Menopause

 

by Katie Morell

Maintaining good heart health is of utmost importance to women who’ve gone through menopause, mainly because their risk is higher than it was while in their pre-menopausal years.

“We aren’t sure why this is, but it is thought to be related to a decrease in estrogen. We are still looking into the causes,” says Dr. Deborah Rohm Young, vice chair of the American Heart Association’s Physical Activity Subcommittee. “Still, this is nothing to be freaked out over. There are many ways you can stay heart healthy after menopause.”

Get screened

Regular heart screenings are important to maintaining a healthy heart. The American Heart Association recommends getting your cholesterol checked every five years, your blood pressure checked at least every two years, your blood glucose levels checked every three years, waist circumference checked as needed and body mass index checked during every regular healthcare visit.

Exercise regularly

Women should try to shoot for at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week to help lower their risk of heart disease.

“Even if you haven’t been an exercise person, now is a great time to start; it’s never too late,” says Rohm Young.

Eat a healthy diet

Diet cannot be underestimated. Healthier eating translates into efficient heart function and overall wellbeing. Try to eat at least 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day and six to eight servings of whole grains. Legumes, unsalted nuts and fatty fish are also excellent options.

Stay positive

Sometimes after menopause, women can suffer from depression. According to research from the American Heart Association, depression is linked to almost a doubled risk of stroke in middle-aged women. This is why staying positive after menopause is so important for women.

Going through menopause can feel like a huge life change for some women, says Rohm Young. But instead of getting depressed, try to embrace this time in your life by eating right, exercising, and socializing with friends.

“This is a time to celebrate your life, so get out there with people you enjoy,” suggests Rohm Young.

Learn more about Heart-Health Screenings and Recommended Screenings and Risk Factors from the American Heart Association on Heart.org.