Post-menopause can be a drastic adjustment for many women. Your body has undergone a significant physical change. With that come certain increased risks due to a sharp decrease in your estrogen and other hormones. Some women may choose hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to deal with menopausal symptoms and health risks, although HRT itself can increase the risk of certain diseases. In general, postmenopausal women are at greater risk for:
- Osteoporosis – A disease that, “occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both.” This makes you more vulnerable to fractures. Estrogen is one of the main contributors to your bone strength throughout your life, but since your levels of estrogen decline in post-menopause, your bones suffer.
- Cardiovascular Disease – While menopause doesn’t directly cause heart disease, your body isn’t quite as resilient as it was before menopause. According to the American Heart Association, “Blood pressure starts to go up. LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol tends to increase.” That means that bad habits will affect you more drastically, which can in turn raise your risk for heart disease.
How to Protect Yourself
Postmenopausal women should stay ahead of these increased health risks by seeing their doctor regularly and having these essential screenings.
DEXA Scan – A DEXA Scan evaluates your bone density. It is the only scan that can diagnose Osteoporosis before a fracture occurs.
Heart Scan – A heart scan measures the amount of plaque in your arteries. This allows your doctor to diagnose serious health complications before symptoms occur.
A Renewed Focus on Health
How can you reduce your cancer risk after menopause? As the MD Anderson Center says, “The same ways you reduce your cancer risk before menopause: exercise, eat a healthy diet, don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke, and maintain a healthy body weight.” Now is a great time to renew your focus on living a healthy lifestyle.
Find an activity you love that gets you moving. Maybe pick up a new hobby that keeps you active. Most importantly, take the time now to construct a healthier diet that you can stick to.