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The Leading Cause Of Death For Women: It’s time To Pay Attention

Lorraine Miano January 2021 new

Menopause Kuel Category Expert: Lorraine Miano

I’ve got a very important New Year’s Resolution I’m working on….and it includes YOU!

Did you know that the leading cause of death of women in the U.S. is preventable? Each year Over 500,000 women in the United States die from cardiovascular disease. That is one in every three female deaths. However, according to the Cleveland Clinic, many people mistakenly think breast cancer is more of a threat, and underestimate how deadly cardiovascular disease truly is.

“90% of cardiovascular disease comes from risk factors that are controllable”

It is important to note that 90% of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death for women, comes from risk factors that are controllable. Risk factors, such as cholesterol, blood pressure, smoking and diabetes. Even if you have a family history of cardiovascular disease, it is not inevitable that you too will have it. The truth is, cardiovascular disease begins at an early age, and is based mainly on what we are eating, and how we are moving our bodies. So, it is a sad statistic that shows only 20% of Millennials are aware that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. We need to begin educating our younger generations on preventable measures to ensure they live a long “health span” vs. “disease-span”.

The 2nd Talk:

You’ll often hear me refer to “The 2nd Talk”, as the conversation mothers should be having with their daughters about menopause. Menopause is not a disease, but a natural process of life, in much the same way that puberty is (when we have the “1st Talk”). 

It is important for us to have the conversations about this time of a woman’s life with our daughters now. This will help them take the steps necessary to enjoy what I refer to as a “magical” menopause in their later years. They may never have to experience the uncomfortable symptoms or health concerns many women find themselves suffering with on their menopausal journeys. 

Just as importantly, what we should be sharing in “the 2nd talk” is the that one of those health concerns can be, the leading cause of death for women, cardiovascular disease. And that the risk for experiencing this preventable disease increases with age. According to heart.org (American Heart Association) menopause does not cause cardiovascular disease. However risk factors created by a lifetime of unhealthy habits such as a high fat diet, smoking, lack of exercise etc. increase during this time of a woman’s life. In fact, more than one of every three adult women has some form of cardiovascular disease. And an over-all increase of heart attacks is seen about 10 years after a woman reaches menopause (the 12-month anniversary of when her menses cease).

The Role Of Estrogen:

“hormone therapy is not recommended for cardiac protection after menopause”

Since estrogen is believed to have a positive effect on the inner layer of the artery wall, keeping blood vessels flexible and able to accommodate blood flow, a decline during the menopausal years of this important hormone could be a factor in the increase of cardiovascular disease in post-menopausal women. However, despite the benefits of estrogen, according to a long-term National Institutes of Health-funded study by The Women’s Health Initiative on the effects of HRT among postmenopausal women, “two groups of women were studied: women with an intact womb who took estrogen with progesterone or a lookalike placebo, and women who had prior hysterectomies and took estrogen only or a placebo. Neither group showed any cardiovascular benefit from the hormone. And both groups showed a slight increase for stroke or thrombosis (blood clotting). As a result of this important study, hormone therapy is not recommended for cardiac protection after menopause.”

Accordingly, both The American Heart Association and John Hopkins Medicine recommends against using post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for reducing cardiovascular risk.

What Are The Signs?

Most of us may be familiar with the signs and symptoms of a heart attack in a woman, which include chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating and pain in the back, neck or jaw. However, according to The Cleveland Clinic, less than half of folks realize that fatigue and nausea are also signs of heart attacks in women as well.

Recently in an article I wrote, Medical Misogyny and Menopause, I shared that it was only in the last decade that doctors and scientists discovered that women present with different symptoms than men when they are having a heart attack and that doctors are seven times more likely to misdiagnose a woman having a heart attack and discharge her mid-attack. As well, women whose heart attacks are treated by male physicians are two to three more times likely to die.

Recommendations From The American Heart Association:

If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

My New Year’s Resolution For You:

It is for all of the reasons above that as a health advocate and menopause coach, I’ve made each of you the center of one of my own personal New Year’s Resolutions. Educating and bringing awareness to menopausal women about the importance of preventative screening for their cardiovascular health is my mission. In that regard, I’ve partnered with Life Line Screening to spread the word, and encourage every woman over the age of 50 to get screened to detect their risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. February is officially American Heart Month, but I wanted to spread the word as quickly as possible to all of my Magical Ladies.

What Is Life Line Screening

What Is Life Line Screening?

Life Line Screening’s program  is based on the simple idea that preventive health screenings can help people live healthier lives. 

Because these types of screenings are normally not covered by insurance for a “healthy” person, they are often not being ordered by primary care physicians until it is too late. While you may get some common blood tests, most insurance does not cover ultrasound tests for those people who are healthy.

Even if they have risk factors such as a strong family history of stroke or cardiovascular disease the tests can be difficult to come by.

While the screenings might seem like a no-brainer, often, the only way to get them is to have a stroke or other serious event. This can be too late, as 80% to 85% of strokes come out of the blue, with no warning mini-stroke beforehand.

Preventive screening can identify hidden stroke risk factors like blockages in the carotid arteries as well as atrial fibrillation (an irregular heart rhythm) and high blood pressure.

Screenings can also look for blockages in the small arteries of the legs and feet (Peripheral Arterial Disease) and related conditions like Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm and high cholesterol and elevated glucose.

What Is An Ultrasound Screening?

The screenings look “inside” your body using painless, safe ultrasound to visualize blockages that you can’t see or feel in the early stages, as well as other techniques like finger-stick blood tests.

Finding these hidden risk factors can help you and your doctor take steps to help you avoid a stroke or other serious cardiovascular events altogether.

Life Line Screening’s focus is on providing information about a person’s health that they might not have known. In addition, it is doing it in a way that makes it easy to share with their doctors.

Once their doctors have their screening report, the physician can work with the patient to determine the next steps. As well as, put preventive strategies in place.

The good news is that most people who have the screenings done have normal results.

What Is An Ultrasound Screening

What’s Next To Prevent Cardiovascular Disease Or Stroke?

You should still ask your doctor first. If you do have any symptoms, he or she may be able to order the tests for you under your insurance.

Without those symptoms, companies such as Life Line Screening offer the tests as a self-pay service.

For those who are not sick, not symptomatic, but have risk factors you can get the test. You do not need a doctor referral to make an appointment.

Click this link: LIFE LINE SCREENING to receive a package of five screenings for only $149. Common risk factors include age 50 or older, a family history of stroke or other cardiovascular diseases, smoking, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure) and high cholesterol.

These prevention screenings are held in easily accessible community facilities like churches, town halls, libraries and synagogues.

What Tests Are Included in My Health Screening?

LIFE LINE SCREENING’s package includes five core screenings that you can order today.

  • Ultrasound of the carotid arteries looking for fatty plaque blockages that can build up and block blood flow to the brain.
  • Ultrasound of the abdominal aorta to look for an aneurysm, a ballooning or stretching of the aorta, the largest artery in the body.
  • A check for Atrial Fibrillation (Afib), the most common type of heart rhythm problem. This is also a stroke risk factor. When the heart doesn’t beat properly, blood can pool in the heart. Eventually, these clots are pumped out, where they can travel to the brain and cause a stroke.
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease Screening, which is a check for blockages in the small arteries of the ankles and feet. Blockages here are a warning sign for blockages in other arteries, including the arteries of the heart.***
  • A test for Osteoporosis Risk. This involves an ultrasound of the shinbone (tibia).

LIFE LINE SCREENING also offers finger-stick blood tests for cholesterol, glucose, a1c, c-Reactive Protein, Thyroid function and more.

My Wish For You:

If you are like me, you’d like to stick around for a while and enjoy life to its absolute fullest. Personally I want to be there for my grandbabies. I want to travel with my hubby. EVERYWHERE. I don’t want to be incapacitated by a stroke, or suffer with other heart-related health issues. I don’t want to die from a preventable disease. If this sounds like you as well, then get the peace of mind you need with this special pricing. You can click here for more information!

Put these preventative screenings at the very top of your “Resolutions”, “Goals”, “Intentions” or whatever you choose to call your New Year’s List. Be your own best health advocate and remember to listen to your body when it whispers, so you won’t have to hear it scream.

Wishing you all a very Magical & Healthy New Year!

Notes:

  1. Testimonials regarding abnormal clinical findings reflect real-life stories from Life Line Screening customers. They may not reflect the typical experience since most screening results are normal.  
  2. https://www.strokeassociation.org/en/about-stroke/types-of-stroke/tia-transient-ischemic-attack/what-is-a-tia
  3. Life Line Screening’s EKG test is a partial test looking for atrial fibrillation only. You will need to see a doctor for a full EKG. Life Line Screening also does not image the coronary arteries, the arteries of the heart.


About the Author:
As a post-menopausal woman herself, Lorraine Miano discovered her passion of offering menopause advocacy, support and resources to women in all phases of menopause through health coaching, proper nutrition and preventive lifestyle choices. She received her certifications as a Health Coach and hormone health expert from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She has been able to help even more women by writing and publishing her first book, The Magic of Menopause: A Holistic Guide to Get Your Happy Back!
Lorraine loves to encourage her clients with her mantra “Menopause is NOT an ending! IT IS a new beginning!” When she’s not advocating for “the change”, you can find Lorraine traveling with her husband Richard, quite often to visit her 5 grandchildren who call her “Nonni”.