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How to Take Care of Your Mom’s Heart After Menopause

By Skye Sherman  •   April 17, 2023
•    Medically Reviewed By Dr. Christine Bishara, MD - May 17, 2023

Photo Credit: by Elina Fairytale, Pexels.com
Photo Credit: by Elina Fairytale, Pexels.com

Chances are, your mom spent a great deal of her life taking care of you. If your mother is aging and going through the natural stages of a woman’s life, it’s time to return the favor and help take care of her. With Mother’s Day right around the corner, consider a different kind of gift for mom this year: the gift of educating yourself on how to take better care of mother dearest!

Now, not everyone becomes a caretaker to their parents as they age, but the least you can do is talk to your parents about their health and make sure they are taking all the necessary steps to ensure they maintain their physical health for as long as they are capable.

All women should be aware of the changes they will experience during and after menopause and how best to strike balance during that time. Men may feel this doesn’t apply to them in any way, shape, or form, but the likelihood is high that even those who will not endure menopause themselves know and love someone dearly who will.

Whether that’s your sister, wife, mother, aunt, or friend, it’s important to be informed so that you can be aware of the best ways to take care of the people you love.

In this article, we’ll take a look at heart health after menopause. Because if there’s one thing we love about our mothers, it’s their big hearts! Here are the things you need to know about proper heart care for women going through menopause and beyond.

Quick facts on menopause

First things first: What is menopause, exactly?

Menopause is not a disease, condition, or ailment. It is a perfectly natural stage of aging that a woman goes through after her child-bearing years have come to a closet. It is the body’s transition from the child-bearing years to the post-child-bearing years.

During menopause, the ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone and thus stop releasing eggs, after which a woman can no longer become pregnant. As menopause begins, women no longer get their period and no longer ovulate; thus, they can no longer conceive a child. For some women, the experience is unpleasant; the body is going through some pretty intense hormonal shifts, and they often feel the effects.

As the National Institute of Health explains it, “the menopausal transition can bring hot flashes, trouble sleeping, pain during sex, moodiness and irritability, depression, or a combination of these symptoms. Some may decide to talk with their doctor about lifestyle changes or medications to treat their symptoms.”

The article also explains, “The menopausal transition most often begins between ages 45 and 55. It usually lasts about seven years but can be as long as 14 years. The duration can depend on lifestyle factors such as smoking, age it begins, and race and ethnicity. During perimenopause, the body’s production of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones made by the ovaries, varies greatly.”

One year after a woman’s final menstrual period is when true menopause takes place. The resulting decrease in estrogen can change just about everything.

Health and routine changes due to menopause

As you can see, menopause changes everything for a woman because it alters her hormonal makeup completely. Your health routine will change once you go through menopause because your body’s hormonal composition is changing, too. What do you need to do differently once you’ve entered into this phase of life?

Diet, nutrition, exercise, and your social life may become more important than ever as you adjust to a new balance of hormones and work to keep each of your bodily systems in top shape. As your body changes, your mental and emotional health may also be affected, aside from the obvious physical changes.

That’s why it may be time to make tweaks to your routine that are more appropriate for the stage of life you’re in. It’s never been more important to nourish your body with good sleep, good nutrition, a healthy collection of hobbies, and a sense of purpose as you broach each new day. Menopause affects your hormone levels which affect everything else about your body and health.

Menopause symptoms can vary greatly, and for some women, prescription drug treatments may be in the cards. Meet with a healthcare professional to discuss your options.

Some women may receive a recommendation from their doctor to begin a prescription drug treatment such as Estring, a vaginal ring that contains estradiol, a form of estrogen, meant to help treat moderate to severe menopausal changes in and around the vagina. The ring delivers a consistent dosage of estrogen for 90 days.

Another option is Vagifem, an estrogen replacement therapy medication that is used to treat vaginal atrophy such as dryness, burning, and itching caused by low estrogen levels in the body due to menopause.

Another important thing you need to incorporate is a focus on your heart and gut health. That’s because the hormones affected by menopause also affect the rest of your bodily systems. For many people, boosting their Vitamin D, folic acid, and magnesium intake wouldn’t be a bad idea, since these are some of the best vitamins for your heart. Additionally, many of the hormones are regulated by our gut microbiome and incorporating more plant based food helps to stabilize the hormone production.

As Healthline puts it, “Menopause does not cause heart disease on its own but the hormonal changes that occur during menopause can increase the risk of heart disease.” It’s important to take a close look at how going through menopause may affect your heart.

How menopause affects your heart health

As you can see, menopause changes just about everything. But one of the most important things to look at is how it affects your heart health, for better or worse.

As the British Heart Foundation explains it, “Oestrogen is important because it helps to protect a number of different parts of your body, including your heart and blood vessels, bones, brain, skin and vagina, so they can all be affected by low levels. …Oestrogen protects the arteries of a woman’s heart in a number of ways, including by reducing build-up of fatty plaque. This means that, after the menopause, you are at an increased risk of heart and circulatory disease. Low oestrogen can increase cholesterol levels, which can further increase your risk of developing heart and circulatory disease.”

You may not have thought twice about your heart health prior to menopause, but you should do so starting right away, because it’s not too late to start! The article also reports, “Menopause can cause palpitations (feeling your heart beating faster than usual) due to the changing hormone levels. This can sometimes happen during hot flushes. Palpitations are usually harmless.”

So, how can women get relief from menopause symptoms without putting the rest of their health at risk? CTV News reports, “Post-menopause, women are at a higher risk for a number of health conditions, including cardiovascular disease. Doctors want to ensure any treatment a patient undergoes due to menopause doesn’t increase those risks even further.”

Because menopausal hormone therapy is reported to be the most effective treatment for the relief of menopause symptoms, researchers wanted to validate whether it can increase a woman’s risk for cardiovascular disease, now that she does not have the same pre-menopausal protective measures in place.

“Researchers found that long-term data showed that short-term menopausal hormone therapy did not come with increased cardiovascular risk when appropriately prescribed to women who were not at a high risk for heart problems.”

Some researchers have looked at how hormone replacement therapy plays into the picture.

As WebMD explains, “Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and heart-related dangers have been the subject of many studies. There are indications of some possible benefits, depending on your age. Women who became menopausal less than 10 years before starting HRT have no increased risk of a heart attack. The same holds true for those who were between the ages of 50 and 59 while taking it. Younger women also show no risk and may even find their risks lowered. Still, women over the age of 60 or who became menopausal more than 10 years ago, could have a slightly increased risk of a heart attack.”

You certainly don’t want to take a medication that could increase your risk of a heart attack, so talk to your doctor about your unique situation to figure out what’s right for you.

How to keep your heart healthy after menopause

So, what should you do to increase your heart health once you’ve hit the menopausal stage of life?

WebMD explains, “A healthy lifestyle goes a long way in preventing heart disease in women. Incorporating the following tips into your everyday life may help you reduce your risk of heart disease during and after menopause:

● Avoid or quit smoking. …

● Maintain a healthy body weight. … Research has shown that being overweight contributes to the onset of heart disease.

● Exercise throughout the week. The heart is like any other muscle -- it needs to be worked to keep it strong and healthy. Being active or exercising regularly (ideally, at least 150 minutes total each week) helps improve how well the heart pumps blood through your body. …

● Eat well. Follow a diet low in saturated fat; low in trans fat (partially hydrogenated fats); and high in fiber, whole grains, legumes (such as beans and peas), fruits, vegetables, fish, folate-rich foods, and soy.

● Treat and control medical conditions. Diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure make you more likely to have heart disease.”

All of these steps can make a major difference in your heart health whether you are pre- or post-menopause, but it’s especially important for women to focus on these steps so that they are not unintentionally adding to their risk factors for heart disease as they age.



The purpose of the above content is to raise awareness only and does not advocate treatment or diagnosis. This information should not be substituted for your physician's consultation and it should not indicate that use of the drug is safe and suitable for you or your (pet). Seek professional medical advice and treatment if you have any questions or concerns.