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The menopause and HRT: what every women needs to know

Fact sheet five: You and your health.

What can I do?

There are several ways in which you can help yourself through the menopause. By taking a few simple steps to make your life healthier and more enjoyable you will be able to make the most of this time in your life.

Exercise:

Taking regular, gentle exercise, which you enjoy, will help you to control your weight and is also good for your heart. If you have not done any exercise for some time, it is best to start gently with, for example, walking, swimming or cycling. These will all help your circulation and also maintain bone strength to reduce the risk of bone thinning.

Healthy diet:

Try to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables as part of a well balanced diet. This means cutting down fat and sugar and also increasing your intake in fibre. You will not only feel a lot better but you will find it easier to control your weight. Reducing your fat intake will also help to lower your blood cholesterol level and help to reduce your risk of a heart attack or stoke.

Don’t forget that calcium plays an important part in preventing osteoporosis in post- menopausal women. In fact women who have reached menopause need around 1500mg of calcium per day- this is as much calcium as that found in two pints of milk. Calcium can also be found in green vegetables and small bony fish.

Alcohol and smoking:

Smoking is the biggest single preventable cause of heart disease and also causes an increased risk of cancer, stroke and bone thinning. If you do smoke and have found it difficult to give up in the past, ask about stop smoking clinics in your local surgery which can provide useful support and advice when you want to quit. Research shows that the risk of heart disease is reduced by regular intake of small quantities of alcohol (1-2 drinks per day), especially red wine. As with most things, that means alcohol in moderation and women are advised to limit their alcohol intake to less than 14 units per week.

Relaxation and stress relief:

Excess stress is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Relaxation exercises such as yoga and learning stress management techniques can play an important role in taking a more relaxed approach to life.

Regular health check ups:

Regular health check ups: it is still important to visit your doctor for regular health checks and screening to ensure that illnesses can be prevented and treated at the earliest opportunity. These checks are particularly important for women in the menopause the risk of certain illnesses increase with age and the onset of the menopause. Regular checks should include cervical smear test, breast checks and blood pressure measurements to keep you healthy.

Note:
Please seek the advice of your doctor before partaking in any form exercise.

Useful addresses:

Amarant Trust  
80 Lambeth Road 
London
SE1 7PW
Tel:01293 413000  
 
Hysterectomy Support Network
c/o Lynne Close
Orpington
Kent
BR6 6BS

National Osteoporsis Society
Po box 10 
Radstock
Bath
BA3 3YB
British Heart Foundation
14 Fitzhardinge Street
London
W1H 4DH
Tel:0171 935 0185

Womens Health Concern
Po box 1629
London  
SW15 2ZL
Tel:0181 780 3007
Merck Medical Information line:
Tel: 01895 452258


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