and a rise in ‘ bad ’ cholesterol . These changes can increase the risk of developing conditions that are linked to heart disease ,” she says .
As an example , many may be aware that metabolic changes during menopause can cause weight gain . However , for women who tend to gain weight around the abdominal area may be at a higher risk of heart disease . “ The body fat that accumulates within the abdominal cavity is called visceral fat ,” says Dr Suraya Hani . “ The higher the amount of visceral fat a person has , the higher their risk for heart disease .”
Dr Suraya Hani also notes that symptoms of heart disease can look different in men and women . “ Some of the common symptoms severe chest pains , fatigue and palpitations , which both men and women report experiencing . However , for women in particular , sometimes their symptoms can be more subtle , such as pain or tightness in the chest that comes and goes , sweating , and nausea ,” she says .
Focusing on heart health While menopause may increase the risk of heart disease , women can take the right steps to lower this risk . “ Menopause is not something we can stop or reverse – it ’ s just another stage of life ,” adds Dr Suraya Hani . “ Instead of worrying excessively , what we can do is make improvements to our life by incorporating healthier habits . Plus , we can start making these changes at any age .”
One important consideration , particularly for menopausal and post-menopausal women , is to
Dr Suraya Hani Kamsani
Early detection is key
undergo regular health screenings . This is especially if you also have other risk factors , including other conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure , a high body-mass index , and a family history of heart disease . “ Many of our patients come to us without showing any symptoms , only to discover unhealthy levels of sugar or cholesterol – in these cases , we ’ re able to detect any possible complications early and tackle them before they develop into serious conditions . If you already experiencing symptoms like excessive fatigue or chest discomfort , it ’ s best to see a cardiologist as soon as possible ,” says Dr Suraya Hani .
She adds that at IJN , patients have the option of receiving additional support to manage their health from the various specialities that are available within the centre . For instance , patients who are struggling to stop smoking for the sake of improving their heart health may be referred to the Stop Smoking Clinic , while the Obesity Clinic provides patients with resources to manage their weight loss in a healthy way .
Aside from maintaining a healthy diet and getting regular exercise , Dr Suraya Hani also advises more women to manage their stress as best as they can . “ Everyone has their own stress triggers , and it can be a challenge to control our stress with the busy lives we lead now ,” she says . “ But even taking small measures to cope with stress , such as taking time to relax , meditation , and even counselling , can make an impact .” She adds that ultimately , menopause should be embraced as a natural part of life . “ It can be a life-altering change for many women . But this is the perfect time to reflect upon all your achievements in life , and celebrate the fruit of your hard labour . That ’ s why it ’ s important to continue striving for positive lifestyle changes , so you can fully enjoy living your life ,” she says . n
Many of our patients come to us without showing any symptoms , only to discover unhealthy levels of sugar or cholesterol .
GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com MAY 2022