(Image source from: www.verywellhealth.com)
Quitting smoking during the transition phase to menopause could be the key to obviate risks of cardiovascular diseases including heart attacks and strokes, suggests a new study.
Menopause is a natural decline in reproductive hormones when a woman reaches her 40s or 50s.
The risk factor most associated with unhealthy arteries was smoking tobacco, said the study published in the journal American Heart Association. The study found that physical activity and a healthy diet may get-go the acceleration of atherosclerosis - a build-up of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on the artery walls.
"Midlife is a crucial window for women to take their cardiovascular wellness to heart and set a course for healthy aging," said Ana Baylin, Associate Professor from the University of Michigan in the United States.
She further said: "The metabolic changes that often occur with menopause, especially increase in cholesterol levels and blood pressure, can significantly increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and cognitive impairment later in life."
For the study, the team enrolled 1,143 women aged 42 to 52 in the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN). The findings showed that those with a wholesome lifestyle had notably wider arteries, less arterial thickening and build-up of fatty plaque.
"Women approaching menopause can significantly lower this risk if they adopt healthier behaviors, even if cardiovascular issues have never been on their radar," said Dongqing Wang, a postdoctoral student from the varsity.
The outcomes suggest that holding a healthy lifestyle - combined with physical activity, decent eating habits and no tobacco use - is especially important for women during the transition phase to menopause.