Risk factors for heart disease are primarily the
same in women as they are in men. Smoking, high blood pressure, excessive
weight, sedentary lifestyle (little or no exercise), high Homocystine levels,
diabetes, high cholesterol, age and family history of heart problems all
increase a woman's chances of having heart disease.
The one addition for women is HRT. Since July 2002
HRT can be considered a risk for heart disease according to the WHI study which
evaluated PremPro a premarin and provera combination therapy which was gaining
popularity with medical practitioners.
Research shows that anovulatory cycles and lowered
progesterone levels occur prior to menopause. Then progesterone levels after
menopause and continue to fall to close to zero. Estrogen, on the other hand,
falls only 40 to 60 percent with menopause.
A womans passage through menopause then results in
a greater loss of progesterone than of estrogen. It is believed that perhaps the
increase in heart disease risk after menopause is due more to progesterone
deficiency than to estrogen deficiency. Dr. John R Lee author of the book "What
Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause" states that in his clinical
experience, lipid profiles improve when bio-identical progesterone is
supplemented. The synthetic versions of progesterone called progestins or
progestagens do not offer the same effects. In fact, the WHI study and more
recent studies from Harvard and the UK all point to the fact that HRT- Estrogen
plus a progestin increases a woman's risk for heart disease and may even
contribute to heart disease.
Bio-identical progesterone on the other hand
appears to increase the burning of fats for energy and, in addition, has
anti-inflammatory effects. Both of these actions would be protective against
coronary heart disease. Progesterone protects the integrity and function of cell
membranes, whereas estrogen allows an influx of sodium and water while allowing
loss of potassium and magnesium. Progesterone, a natural diuretic, promotes
better sleep patterns and helps us deal with stress. When one reviews the known
actions of progesterone, it is clear that many of its actions are also
beneficial to the heart.
The key to reducing a woman's risk of heart disease
is to maintain a balance of hormones in her body and at the same time actively
pursue a program to prevent heart disease.
Steps to take would be:
1. Use a Saliva test to determine the status of
estradiol and progersterone.
2. If either are deficient increase progesterone
levels first using a bio-identical cream
3. Increase Fiber in the diet and use a supplement
like Fiber Source 7 which has the additional advantage of containing probiotics.
High fiber diets have been shown to improve hormone levels and to assist with
4. Increase EFA's in the diet. Essential Fats
promote good hormone production as well as heart health.
5. Increase the consumption of fruits and
vegetables focusing on greeny leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables which
contain anti oxidants and indole-3-carbinol. Taking a fruit and vegetable
concentrate and an indoles supplement in addition to eating more makes sense to
guarantee you are getting all the nutrients needed and to fill the gaps in your
6. Using a calcium/magnesium supplement for your
bones and for your heart health is often suggested in prevention programs.
We must take charge of our health. Prevention is
always the best medicine. It is never too late to make lifestyle changes.
Exercise, a healthy diet and the right supplements and perhaps a little hormone
balancing can all ensure that we don't fall victim to the silent killer that is
relentlessly stalking our heart and ultimately - our life."
This Article Is Copywright 2006 Jackie L. Harvey
... Saliva Testing