World Menopause Day 2023 – raising awareness of menopause as a Cardiovascular Disease risk factor.

World Menopause Day is held every year on the 18th of October and throughout the month of October people come together to raise awareness of the menopause and the support options available for improving health and wellbeing of people experiencing perimenopause and menopause.

This global campaign aims to raise awareness of perimenopause and menopause and the support options available for improving health and wellbeing. The theme for World Menopause Day 2023 is Cardiovascular Disease.

Menopause is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) because oestrogen withdrawal has a detrimental effect on cardiovascular function and metabolism. Levels of oestrogen, which helps keep blood vessels relaxed and open, start to decline as menopause approaches and with less oestrogen, cholesterol may begin to build up on artery walls.  A build-up in vessels leading to the heart or brain can then increase the risk of higher blood pressure, heart disease or stroke. Hot flashes and night sweats, depression and sleep problems, some of the common symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, can be linked to an increased risk of heart disease and women who reach menopause before age 45 have a significantly higher risk of coronary heart disease.

In order to help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, it is recommended that from the time of perimenopause, you should watch for weight gain, especially around your abdomen and to stop smoking if you smoke. Maintaining a heart-healthy diet, participating in regular physical activity, trying to support a good quality sleep routine and maintaining healthy cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels will all help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Together with taking steps to manage your stress levels through activities such as yoga, simple breathing exercises and mindfulness and ensuring that your alcohol intake is within national guidelines will help you to manage your symptoms related to perimenopause and menopause. Recent studies have also shown that HRT is protective for cardiovascular health, if it is initiated within 10 years of menopause and the woman is healthy, with no significant cardiovascular risk factors.

As menopause advocates and champions we are here to support you to navigate your way through your own perimenopause and menopause experience and to ensure that you feel as supported as possible when coming to work. So this lunchtime why not think about what you might do to maintain your health and well-being and therefore reduce any risk factors that might stand out to you? Perhaps you might start going for that lunchtime walk you have been promising yourself, spending 5 minutes practising some mindfulness, guided by an app such as Headspace (free membership for nhs staff)  or making that appointment with your GP practice for a full health-check.  And if you would like some support to help your time at work continue to be a positive experience whilst trying to navigate with your perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms then do please get in touch or please come and visit our PCS meno-advocates and champions at our international menopause event at Heeley Green Community Centre, Tuesday 17th October between 12.30-2.30pm.

PCS menopause advocates

Kiz Haigh

Joanna Burton

SHSC menopause advocates

Sharon Booth

Julie James