Women’s Heart Health Awareness Month
May is Women’s Heart Health Awareness Month, a great reminder for all women out there to be aware of potential risks and signs to look out for.
Did you know?
That in New Zealand (and in fact many Western Countries) Heart Disease is the biggest killer of women? Traditionally seen as a man’s disease, often women consider other conditions such as breast cancer or ovarian cancer as their biggest risk conditions.
“The silent killer”
As a result Heart Disease is sometimes referred to as the “silent killer of women” because often only a few signs present themselves as do they do with men. Raised blood pressure and high cholesterol are two key symptoms of cardiac issues however these signs usually present in men much younger than they do in women.
In men, cholesterol build up usually affects the main arteries (coronary heart disease: CHD) whereas for women it tends to affect the tiny arteries (coronary micro vascular disease; MVD).
Research shows that women usually tend to develop these signs about 10 years later than men, and this may be due to the hormone estrogen which may positively impact on lipids, protect the blood vessels, and perhaps reduce plaque formation of the main arteries but not the smaller ones.
Also diagnosing coronary micro vascular disease is not as easy to carry out as with the main arteries.
Although post menopause usually sees a rise in heart disease risk for women, some young women who have hormonal issues may also be at risk.
For women there are key factors that may increase your risk of heart disease these include:
- Change in hormones: as mentioned, a drop in estrogen reduces the protective mechanism
- Contraceptive pill – it is possible that there is a small risk of raise blood pressure and blood clotting in women who use the pill
- Pre-eclampsia is a condition that affects a small group of women during pregnancy causing raised blood pressure, protein in urine and swelling of hands and feet. Research shows that pre-eclampsia can more than doubles the rick of heart disease later in life.
- Stress – Stress increases the risk of heart disease due to the hormones involved. And remember stress triggers are not just emotional or mental (fighting kids, stressful work!) But can also come from physical trauma (e.g. constant knee pain or similar), food related (IBS, Celiac, or on going food sensitivity) and toxicity (exposure to environmental toxins, pesticides, herbicides or water bourn heavy metals etc).
Don’t forget your standard risk factors also which include:
- Highly processed diet, including sugar, trans fat and low intake of wholefoods
- High alcohol intake
- Being overweight
- Being pre diabetic or diabetic
- Family history
If you have any major concerns and feel like your risk is increased due to any of the above bullet points, the best thing to do is chat to your GP. Evidence shows that early intervention can help improve overall health and reduce the potential risk.
In the meantime the best thing to do is to make sure you are eating a diet that is rich in nutrients from wholefoods. Meals and snacks that are high in vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds; as well as drinking water and herbal teas will offer good protection to the cardiac vascular system as well as give you loads of energy.
So what do we have that can help?
For Women’s Heart Health Awareness month, we have some great specials on some key supplements that may also be of help to protect your heart.
Nutra-Life Co-Enzyme Q10 – There is good scientific evidence to show how COQ10 can help general heart health and improve blood pressure. COQ10 is made naturally in the body but as we age our ability to make this effectively reduces. Also, where there are extra demands for COQ10 such as in a cardio picture, supplementation is a huge benefit.
For those already on a statin (cholesterol reducing drug) then supplementing with COQ10 should be seen as essential as it helps improve heart cell energy and so may help function.
KNH Resveratrol (with Turmeric) – Resveratrol is a member of the plant group that provides a good amount of polyphenol, an antioxidant that can offer protection to various biochemical reactions that occue in the body therefore may help to protect against damage. There is a lot of research around how resveratrol can protect against vascular damage, but may also help towards repair of damaged cardio tissue.
The curcumin in Turmeric is another polyphenol which has been a long history of health use. Different research undertaken in the last 5 years shows it has an anti-thrombotic (blood clotting) effect, anti-inflammatory effect, and also helps to bring down blood cholesterol.
KNH Mega Omega – Omega-3 fish oil should be a staple for most people in the population especially if fatty fish is not being eaten during the week. Remember the body cannot make essential fatty acids (EFA’s) of which Omega-3 is part of so it must be obtains through food or supplements. Omega-3 fish oil brings down inflammation, may lower triglycerides and may help towards blood clotting.
There is a massive amount of reading and research around the benefits of fish oil. And of course, following the Mediterranean Diet which is high in omega-3 is one of the most well-known diets that may help with cardiovascular health.
Artemis Healthy Heart Tea – The combination of herbs in this loose leaf tea complex may help to improve the general circulatory system, help to improve blood pressure, may help to relax the muscles of the heart, and may be helpful to reduce stress. It is a great tea to have for those early signs of issues or even if you are already on medication as the dose is safe to take with pharmaceutical medication.
So pop into the store or shop online! If you have any questions please do chat to any of the staff, they can help with any questions you might have. contact us!