Heart Disease and Menopause Puts Women at Risk for Sudden Cardiac Death

by Laura Ramirez on August 1, 2011

Heart disease and menopause – a recent study shows that women with coronary artery disease (CAD) have a higher risk for sudden cardiac death (SCD) after menopause. Before this study, there wasn’t much information available on the risk for sudden cardiac death in women who have some form of cardiac or circulatory dysfunction. The risk factors identified in the study will help scientists to better understand how to prevent sudden death in older women (sudden is defined as within 1 hour of symptoms).ᅠ

A new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania indicates that post-menopausal women with coronary artery disease and other risk factors are at an increased risk for sudden cardiac death (SCD). “Until now, there has been very little data about SCD risk in women with existing cardiovascular conditions

Currently, the only established predictor for SCD is to evaluate the heart’s pumping capacity in the left ventricle by measuring what’s called the “ejection fraction.” This refers to the percentage of blood that’s pumped out of the left ventricle with each heartbeat. However, recent studies have shown that less than one-third of people who experience SCD would have been identified by this clinical test…

So one of the biggest risk factors for sudden cardiac death is menopause with a previous diagnosis of coronary artery disease. Other factors that put a post menopausal woman at risk: previous heart attack, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, inactivity and kidney dysfunction.

heart disease and menopause

Heart disease and menopause can be managed through diet, exercise and relaxation.

So what can a woman do to reduce her risk? Engage in activities that relax you. For those with heart issues, relaxation is the key because stress increases the workload on the heart. Learn how to meditate. Regular physical activity is a must. If you’ve been a couch potato lately, you do not have to do strenuous exercise. Yoga is an excellent choice because it is both challenging and relaxing and it also builds bone mass, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, another disease associated with onset of menopause symptoms.

If you have diabetes, start taking the steps to learn how to control it. As you may know, diabetes is the number one cause of heart disease and circulatory problems. Find sweetness in your life instead of what you put into your mouth.

How are you handling heart disease and menopause? Which preventative measures are you taking to ensure a long, healthy and fulfilling life—a life that allows you to enjoy the fruits of your labor and hopefully, watch your grandchildren grow up?

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