Athena Men's Corner

Chapter 9:
Keep Your Heart Strong and Your Blood Flowing through  Unclogged Vessels

"Look Inside" Dr. Winnifred Cutler's essential book; an excerpt from Chapter 9 for readers.

Click here for full book description

Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Hormones and Your Health: The Smart Woman's Guide to Hormonal and Alternative Therapies for Menopause

Excerpted pages 161-163, 167

Your heart and blood vessels form a cardiovascular system: cardio means “heart,” vascular is the “blood vessels.” If you are healthy, your blood vessels provide unclogged pipelines for your blood to flow throughout your body with each heartbeat.

Your cardiovascular system accomplishes profound tasks. First, the arteries transport red blood cells loaded with oxygen from your lungs to your cells as veins carry blue-colored waste gases from your cells back to the heart and on to the lungs for exhaling. Second, like a home heating-and-cooling system, the pipelines regulate body temperature. Third, these pipelines form an orderly network that delivers:

You want to keep this amazing system vibrant and healthy.

If your blood vessels are clogged with cholesterol or plaque, the pipelines shut down and your health deteriorates. If your veins have obstructions, you are at risk for developing a thromboembolism or having a stroke. Cardiovascular disease is silent for many years before it speaks with a big bang, like a heart attack and a stroke. Meanwhile, the natural onset of menopause starts the clock ticking for the onset of unwelcome cardiovascular changes.481 Surgical menopause (removal of the uterus and the ovaries) produces an even higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.34 The earlier it happens, the earlier the changes start.

The Epidemic of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)
in Postmenopausal Women

The Gender Difference

CVD in postmenopausal women is silent and more deadly than in men.770 Although men are worse off than intact premenopausal women, with 4 times the incidence of cardiovascular disease and 40 times as many heart attacks, this ratio reverses after menopause, whether it is natural or induced by surgery. More women than men die after a heart attack.459


Take Action to Improve Your Cardiovascular Health

You can’t change getting older or your family history, but there is a lot you can do to modify and/or reduce your risk of getting cardiovascular disease.606

The American Heart Association has suggested eight lifestyle interventions. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has endorsed them, after reviewing nearly 9,000 studies.307

Also learn in this chapter: