menopause and cardiovascular disease

The Silent Symphony

Menopause involves various changes in the body. Yet, it not only marks the end of your reproductive years but also the beginning of a new chapter with new risks. Often, menopause and cardiovascular disease are talked about in conjunction with one another. Is there a reason for this? Does your CVD risk increase post-menopause? Here’s everything you should know, along with treatments like Vyndamax, a medication used to treat (ATTR-CM), a rare and progressive heart disease, by stabilizing the transthyretin protein and slowing the accumulation of abnormal deposits in the heart.

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

  • Chest pain or discomfort.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Pain or discomfort in the upper body, including arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Cold sweat.
  • Nausea or lightheadedness.
  • Fatigue or weakness.
  • Sudden anxiety or unexplained feelings of impending doom.
  • Pain or discomfort that may resemble indigestion or heartburn.
  • Women may experience atypical symptoms such as dizziness, fainting or upper abdominal pressure.

Does the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease Increase After Menopause?

Surprisingly, estrogen is very protective against coronary heart disease and related conditions, such as a heart attack or stroke. In fact, estrogen helps control your cholesterol levels, reducing plaque build-up within the arteries. In turn, this reduces the risk factors associated with heart problems.

However, menopause marks a drop in estrogen levels as the ovaries slow down and eventually stop functioning altogether. This can increase your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.

On top of this, other common menopause symptoms may further increase this risk, including:

  • Weight gain: Many research studies indicate that excess weight is associated with a higher risk of a heart attack.
  • Blood sugar dysregulation: With hormones fluctuating and attempting to re-balance, changing blood sugar levels is common during this time in a woman’s life. Many studies also suggest that abnormal blood sugar levels, such as those with diabetes, are a risk factor for heart disease.
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Are Menopausal Symptoms a Sign of Heart Disease?

Undeniably, menopause symptoms can drastically impact your daily life, depending on what symptoms you have and their severity. Interestingly, some symptoms can be confused with heart issues or even a heart attack, such as:

  • Heart palpations or a racing heart.
  • Aches in the chest area.
  • Brain dog.
  • Weight gain.

Yet. these are most often attributed to fluctuations in your hormones.

The true signs of a heart attack include:

  • Chest pain that is sudden and doesn’t go away.
  • Pressure, squeezing, or heaviness in the chest that doesn’t go away.
  • Indigestion or a burning sensation.
  • Pain that radiates down the left or right arm and may spread down the neck, jaw, and back.
  • Feeling sweaty.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Shortness of breath.

If you notice any of the above, make sure to get yourself to emergency care immediately. The sooner you seek treatment, the better chances you have of survival and making a full recovery.

How to Reduce Your Risk

Luckily, there are various ways to reduce your risk of a heart attack, even post-menopause.

1. Maintain a Healthy Weight

While this can be more difficult during perimenopause and post-menopause, it’s not impossible. For the most part, it involves a focus on healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular exercise, stress reduction techniques, good sleep hygiene, and a balanced diet.

An easy way to keep your diet on track is to focus on eating whole foods, such as lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits, as opposed to choosing processed or pre-packaged food items.

Getting exercise is also undeniably important, especially for overall cardiovascular health. Consider daily walks, biking as your commute to work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, or even parking farther back in the lot.

2. Limit Your Alcohol Intake

One of the biggest impacts on overall health, including heart health, is alcohol. While you may feel inclined to drink socially, it can be valuable to pay attention to how much you drink regularly.

Consider swapping your favorite alcoholic drink for sparkling water or a mocktail. Or opting for one or two drinks max. This can make a huge difference in your overall health, menopausal symptoms, and heart disease risk.

3. Manage Pre-Existing Conditions or Medications

Conditions such as transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM), which causes a build-up of protein in the heart, can lead to an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke. However, groundbreaking therapies, such as Vyndamax, can help manage this condition.

Additionally, if you’re diabetic, ensure you monitor your blood sugar levels to avoid complications which can lead to stress on the heart.

Vyndamax for Heart Disease

Vyndamax is a medication designed to help people with a rare and progressive heart condition called transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM). This disease involves the abnormal buildup of proteins in the heart, leading to serious complications. Vyndamax works by stabilizing a specific protein, transthyretin, and slowing down the accumulation of these harmful deposits in the heart. By doing so, it aims to alleviate the impact of the condition and improve the overall health and well-being of individuals facing this unique and challenging cardiovascular disease.

What About HRT?

HRT, Hormone Replacement Therapy, is used to treat severe symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, low mood, and night sweats. Yet, it’s also theorized that HRT could be protective against heart disease due to its delivery of protective hormones.

But HRT isn’t always best for everyone. It’s always important to discuss your options with your doctor to determine if this is the right choice. HRT often should be started within ten years of the onset of menopause and, ideally, before 60 years of age.