Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life cycle and cannot be prevented. However, many of the symptoms can be managed and complications prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices and being vigilant about your health.
A well-balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as well as limited saturated fats, oils, and sugars can help your overall health. The significant drop in female hormones during this period can make you especially vulnerable to weight gain in your midsection. Increased belly fat is associated with increased risks of heart disease and other life-threatening diseases. Paying attention to hunger cues — eating only when physically hungry — and eating healthy foods can prevent this common side effect. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial during this phase of your life, though it may take more effort than before.
Avoiding processed foods, including sugars, can reduce mood swings and stabilize blood glucose levels. Doctors recommend getting 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium daily as well as 900 international units (IUs) of vitamin D. Seek advice from your doctor to see whether supplements are necessary.
It is important to exercise during the day and avoid caffeine in the evening to bring about optimum relaxation. Altered sleep patterns is a common symptom of menopause. Changes in hormones can also make you feel more fatigued than usual. Because of this, it’s important to get plenty of sleep each night.
Hot flashes may disturb your sleep, so sleep in a cool room, dress in layers, and keep a glass of cold water nearby. Also use sheets and clothing that permit your skin to breathe, such as lightweight cotton. A relaxation method, such as deep breathing, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation, may aid in sleep.
Activity can help relieve hot flashes, regulate mood, and manage your weight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week for general health improvement. It also recommends at least two strength training sessions per week. Weight-bearing exercise can increase bone strength. Strength training is a useful prevention tool because menopause can result in loss of bone density.
A woman’s risk for cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure increases when estrogen production declines during menopause. Make sure you get your blood pressure checked periodically to ensure that you’re maintaining a normal blood pressure. Also, be heart-healthy: eat right and exercise regularly.
Bone density often drops at a fast rate during the first few years of menopause because estrogen plays a key role in building new bone. As a result, the risk for bone fractures increases significantly for postmenopausal women. Make sure to keep an eye on your bones by getting a bone density test. This test is an X-ray that measures bone thickness and strength, and can keep you knowledgeable about how strong your bones are. Be bone healthy: eat foods that build strong bones, learn to exercise the safe way, and protect yourself against falls.