When we talk about the role that hormones play on various aspects of our body, we can’t forget the impact it makes on the most vital organ- the heart. When it comes to heart health, hormones play a leading role. The way they are functioning in the body directly impacts the cardiovascular system, the heart and the blood vessels. When they are working properly, they can help prevent heart disease; when they are out of balance, they can cause it.
HORMONES AND YOUR HEART HEALTH
The link between hormones and heart health is very important to understand. Let’s start with the pancreas. The pancreas creates insulin, the hormone that allows the body’s cells to receive blood glucose. If something goes wrong with the way the pancreas makes this hormone, perhaps due to insulin resistance, suddenly there is too much blood glucose. Because of a hormonal problem, the body now has too much blood glucose which can cause type 2 diabetes and lead to cardiovascular issues: high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease.
For women, there seems to be a link between the menopausal stage of life and heart health. No, menopause does not cause cardiovascular diseases. However, the risk factors increase at the time of menopause. A decline in the estrogen hormone may be a significant factor in heart disease among post-menopausal women. Estrogen is believed to have a positive effect on the inner layer of the artery wall, helping to keep the blood vessels flexible and accommodate blood flow. When estrogen levels naturally drop at a certain age, that helpful effect goes away.
OTHER RISK FACTORS FOR HEART DISEASE
Other conditions that may be influenced by hormonal imbalances include:
- High blood pressure
- High bad cholesterol
- Low good cholesterol
- High triglycerides
All of which make it easier for the inner walls of the arteries to accumulate plaque.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
To offset your risks for heart disease, take steps to change your lifestyle.
- Monitor your cholesterol- eat heart healthy foods. Reduce saturated fats found primarily in red meat and dairy products.
- Manage your blood pressure- eat a healthier diet with less salt, physical exercise, stress management, etc.
- Lose weight or maintain weight- physical exercise is a huge component to heart health. 150 minutes of physical exercise each week is recommended.
- Hormone replacement therapy- if a hormonal imbalance is the source of the problem and things just are not functioning properly, this may be a great option for optimal health.
- Quit smoking.
It is important to take care of your body and prevent any heart problems, but it is just as important to be on the look out for any signs and symptoms, especially as we age.
Some symptoms of heart disease include:
- Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure, and chest discomfort.
- Shortness of breath.
- Fluttering in your chest, racing heartbeat, slow heartbeat
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting.
- Swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet.
For more information please contact Premier Health and Wellness by visiting the site or by contacting the staff at (512) 459-4405.