After menopause, the risk of heart disease in women becomes comparable to the incidence in men. Even I was surprised to learn that heart disease kills eight times as many women as breast cancer. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women aged 65 and over. Conversely, only about one-third of women younger than 65 with heart disease die. With proper guidance, especially nutritional and lifestyle guidance, we can significantly decrease this cardiovascular risk.
Women’s antioxidant levels decrease during menopause. By increasing the intake of antioxidants through diet and supplements, menopausal symptoms and post-menopausal health concerns related to antioxidant status may be offset. These include cardiovascular disease- the number one cause of death in women- and disorders of the skeletal systems. When the body’s levels of vital antioxidants decrease, including vitamin C, vitamin E, glutathione, and superoxide dismutase (SOD), there is an increase in oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by excessive levels of free radicals, which then create a cascade of inflammation throughout the body. Increased levels of oxidized cholesterol, rather than cholesterol levels alone in the body, are associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole food supplements, containing a variety of antioxidants including SOD, as well as supplements of alpha-lipoic acid, CoQ10, omega-3s, vitamin C, astaxanthin, carnitine, and vitamin E may help improve a woman’s total antioxidant status during menopause, providing protection against excessive oxidative stress, and supporting healthy cardiovascular function.
Since the numbers of women experiencing menopause is growing significantly, physicians and scientists need to introduce effective therapeutic strategies to ensure that women do not needlessly suffer the debilitating effects of untreated menopause.
What steps do you take to stay heart-healthy?