Menopausal Symptoms May Predict Risk of Heart, Memory Trouble

Menopausal Symptoms May Predict Risk of Heart, Memory Trouble
23 Feb 2023
7 mins
Table Of Content
Menopausal Symptoms May Predict Risk of Heart, Memory Trouble

    Menopause is when a woman experiences irregular periods and is rare until they eventually stop. Menopause occurs when the reproductive organs stop producing the required hormones for monthly periods. Most women experience this phase naturally; for others, it could result from chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and uterus removal surgery. 

    Menopausal symptoms are inevitable for every menstruating woman. Menopause symptoms start way before menopause; hence, they could be frustrating. They last for anywhere between 3 months to 10 years.

    Can Menopause Cause Heart Problems?

    Heart diseases are on the rise and likely affect anyone approaching old age. However, the symptoms become more significant for women once they reach menopause. Not every woman attaining menopause will be prone to heart disease. But certain risk factors like smoking, a high-fat diet, and unhealthy habits in early life affect heart health during menopause. Let us take a look at each risk factor individually.

    Age At The Time Of Menopause

    One in ten women reaches the menopause stage at the early age of 40. Women who attain menopause before 45 are more likely to suffer from coronary artery disease and osteoporosis. Early menopause could result from thyroid problems, viral infection, and eating disorders.

    Timing Of Menopause

    When menopause occurs too early due to external factors, it increases the risk of heart problems. For example, surgical removal of ovaries at an early age results in menopause. It may increase the risk of heart problems. But if the same surgery is done around the natural menopause age, it does not influence heart disease risk. Surgical removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) does not aggravate the risk of heart disease, irrespective of whether it is done before or after menopause.

    Estrogen Levels In The Body


    The estrogen hormone keeps our blood vessels open and relaxed. This hormone level drops significantly around the time of menopause. When the estrogen level is low, cholesterol builds up in the arteries, increasing the risk of stroke and heart attacks.

    High Visceral Fat

    Visceral fat is the fat deposits in the stomach where vital organs are present. When fat around critical organs is high, it creates a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

    Cholesterol levels and metabolic syndrome risk: Metabolic syndrome is when a person has three or more of these factors, namely, abdominal obesity, high triglyceride value, low level of good cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar. These heart-related risk factors appear to increase with menopause beyond the effects of normal aging. 

    Menopausal Symptoms That Indicate Potential Heart Problems

    The menopausal transition represents a critical period that increases cardiovascular disease risk in women's lives. Traditional cardiovascular risks factors, such as low glucose tolerance, high blood pressure, and endothelial dysfunction, become prominent during and after menopause. This partially explains the increase in heart disease risk among women. 

    Hot flushes and night sweats are vasomotor symptoms (VMS). Menopausal women commonly experience these symptoms. In addition to VMS, other symptoms like anxiety, depression, irritation, tiredness, low libido, insomnia, and panic attacks are common. 

    A decline in estrogen during menopause makes the brain's hypothalamus unstable and alters nerve signals, leading to vasomotor symptoms. Thus, supplementing with estrogen is considered the most effective treatment. 

    How Does Menopause Affect Memory?


    In addition to normal aging, women undergo reproductive aging during menopause. Over time, they experience a depletion of estradiol, the primary form of estrogen that works in the brain. Estradiol directly alters memory performance and reorganizes the brain part that regulates memory function. Thus, women and men undergo different aging processes, and reproductive aging is more critical for women than chronological aging.

    Many women note forgetfulness and brain fog during the menopausal transition. Although every woman eventually undergoes menopause, the age at which menopausal symptoms begin alters its impact on a woman's life. 

    Menopause can affect how brain cells are developed, connected, and even die. These processes influence brain areas that are crucial for memory. Glucose is the primary source of energy utilized by brain cells. Menopause leads to a decline in glucose levels in the brain. The brain then looks to alternative energy sources to function normally. Pre-existing health issues like diabetes and hypertension also significantly increase the risk of cognitive decline.

    What Can Women Do To Manage Menopause Symptoms?

    Physical activity, cognitive activity, and social life are the three significant factors for maintaining intact memory and heart health. Exercise and mental activity directly impact brain health on a cellular level. Social life makes one remain active through outer experiences through exposure to different perspectives. Eating foods rich in omega three fatty acids like fish oil and following a Mediterranean diet improves brain and heart health, especially for women with diabetes and hypertension. 

    A night of good sleep for at least 7 hours is crucial for overall health. Quality sleep helps store and retain information vital to you. It clears the brain of amyloid protein (a protein involved in causing Alzheimer's). Try to implement these lifestyle changes every day to remain healthy.

    Written by
    BhairaviMedical Content Writer
    AboutPharm D
    Tags :symptoms of menopausemenopause symptomsmenopause and heart problemsmenopause and memory