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WHAT TO KNOW THIS WEEK
 


Menopause Changes Your Heart


We are focusing once again on heart health. Yes, we talked about how menopause and drops in estrogen levels impact cardiovascular health in women not that long ago, but we think it's so super-important and because we have so many new subscribers who may have missed that issue, we're going to delve back into heart health again this week.

Hey . . . it's never a bad thing to be reminded -- okay, nagged -- every once in a while, right? 



We hosted (in partnership with AARP) a 5-part series in March focusing on "all things menopause." Thousands of women tuned in, participated in live polls, and submitted questions. In fact, there were so many, we couldn't possibly get to all of them, so every week, Dr. Margaret is answering questions we weren't able to get to during the shows! (see "Ask Dr. Margaret" below). 



We love your questions and comments --  keep sending them after watching the videos and we'll keep answering!  

 

Send your questions to: menopausecheatsheet@gmail.com 




 

Also in this issue:

  • Small steps to a healthy heart
  • GRUFFtalk: why the world needs a designated non-profit focusing on menopause
  • Podcast: a master class in life after 50 
  • Black Cohosh: does it work and is it okay to take -- Dr. Margaret tells all
  • Latest issue of Fashion Flash (style, skincare, fitness, travel and everything else that's fun in life)
  . . . and more.
 

Time to dig in. 


Barbara Hannah Grufferman
Founder & Editor, Menopause Cheat Sheet
 

 

Straight From the Heart


Barbara's Heart Health Story. 

When I turned 50 and was postmenopausal, I was completely unprepared for the effect drops in estrogen would have on my heart. Soon I started to experience an irregular heartbeat along with feelings that my heart was jumping clear out of my body when I was lying in bed at night. I never told my husband, thinking it would go away. It didn't. So I finally fessed up and then made an appointment with a cardiologist. Diagnosis? Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT), a non-life threatening heart issue that causes the heart to do exactly what I just described due to a weird electrical connection. It's common in both men and women but even more common in postmenopausal women like me. Darn that estrogen drop. 

After all the usual tests and lots of discussion, I was put on a mild calcium channel blocker and was told, "Good luck running the next NYC Marathon," meaning, I had zero restrictions put on my life. That's when I ramped up my workouts and reassessed how I was eating, sleeping, and managing stress. I vowed that day to never allow heart disease to be the cause of my premature demise. Period. 

 


When Estrogen Levels Drop, Your Heart Responds.

Women who are perimenopausal or postmenopausal are at an increased risk of heart disease. This is just something you must get inside your head, accept as fact, and take seriously. There is an excellent article we came across that took a very deep dive into the new research behind heart disease in women, which we hope you all will take the time to read. It's here. The article also delves into new thinking behind the signs of heart attacks women may have, and current best practices for treatment.
 

Watch This and Be Inspired to Do More For Your Heart.

The final episode of the 5-part series we hosted focusing on the changes menopause can cause in your body was all about bone, brain, and heart health. We welcomed Dr. Jennifer Mieres, a leading cardiologist and advocate for women's health and specifically health equity. She has a way of explaining very complicated medical things in wonderfully clear ways (alway appreciated), and we urge you to take the time to watch this now. Your heart will thank you. 


Simple Lifestyle Choices Can Save Your Heart and Life

  • Quit Smoking: get help if you need it
  • Keep Blood Pressure Low: under 120/70
  • Monitor Your Resting Heart Rate: normal is between 60 - 100, but aim for 60
  • Get Your Heart Rate Up Every Day Through Exercise: at least 30 - 60 minutes every, single day by walking, running, biking, going up and down stairs, whatever, but just do it
  • Check on Your Cholesterol Levels: things change when you go through menopause, including your cholesterol levels. 
  • Eat the Mediterranean Way: very little red meat, no processed foods, lots of vegetables and fruits (especially berries), healthy fats (like olive oil), and chicken and fish a few times a week. Sugar? Try your best to limit the amount. 
  • Manage Stress: please make a vow not to let anyone or anything get to you (breathe)
  • Did We Mention 'No Smoking'?

Truth du Jour:
We love each and every one of you and we want you to thrive and be well and have fun and age better than any generation before us. But, no one can do that for you. You need to do the heavy lifting. We each need to take personal responsibility for how we live our lives, starting right now. If you fall off the wagon, it's okay. Get back on. Don't stay off. Do not stay off. You can do it. We know you can.
#AgeBetter


 
 

Here's What You Think


It’s always tempting to assume that we know what's on our readers' minds, or what your biggest complaints are, or what symptoms bother you the most, because hey . . . we're women going through all of this, too.

However, during the live series we hosted, we conducted a few polls, where we asked for the audience's input, to get a sense of what you're thinking and where you are on your personal menopause journey. Here are the results in visual form, which we call 'Word Clouds'. Take a look and think about what your answer would have been to this question:
 

 "What Do You Think Are The Biggest Health Concerns for Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal Women?

 
 
 

 

More 'Word Clouds' coming up
next week!


 

 

Cheat Sheet Shorties

A few stories to make you smile or give you pause.
Or both.

Mean Magazine Podcast. Yep, there is a podcast (and newsletter) called 'Mean Magazine' that is headed by a badass woman who interviewed Barbara, who now thinks she's a badass woman because the woman who interviewed her told Barbara that she is a walking, talking "masterclass in life after 50" . . . which made Barbara feel pretty darn proud of herself (and did we mention 'badass'?). Listen here.  
#BadassWomenUnite

More Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy and Happy. We're hoping you read the opening story, above, and watched the video. If all of that didn't convince you that your heart is a precious thing indeed, deserves your utmost attention and adoration, and -- so important -- you can prevent a lot of cardiovascular issues -- maybe NPR will. Read here. 
#NationalPublicRadioRocks

Another Reason to Avoid COVID. New studies are coming out that show how contracting COVID can impact your long-term health and wellbeing, including cognitive functioning. Learn more here. 
#GetAShotWearAMask

Get to Sleep -- Fast! Our friends over at WebMD created a slideshow (we're suckers for slideshows) depicting a few tried and true natural ways to fall asleep (and hopefully stay there, but that's a whole 'nother story for another time). Watch here. 
#ToSleepPerchanceToDream
 
Welcome to GRUFFtalk, a safe place to explore things that happen to our bodies, minds and souls (mostly bodies) as we get older, that sometimes we don't want to discuss with anyone. We call them the UnTalkables, but we talk about them anyway.

Have a topic in mind? Drop us an email at menopausecheatsheet@gmail.com.

 

The Untalkable of the Week

There's Been No Organization Devoted to
Menopausal Women . . . Until Now


Yep, that's the thing we're focusing on this week, because menopause is still considered taboo, something to be swept under the rug, and simply not discussed, even though menopause is something that over half the world's population experiences.

Result? Women continue to suffer in silence. 

That's the exact reason why we started Menopause Cheat Sheet smack in the middle of the COVID pandemic in April 2020.

And that's why Claire Gill started the National Menopause Foundation

There's the American Heart Association to promote heart health.
There's the National Osteoporosis Foundation for bone health.
There's the American Cancer Society to combat cancer.

But until a few years ago, there was no patient-driven place for women to go to get the information and resources they need and deserve to better understand menopause. (Yes, there is the excellent North American Menopause Society (NAMS), but that is geared more to the medical profession than the patient). 

It's possible that most of you aren't familiar with the work the National Menopause Foundation is doing, but you should be. We've included its logo and a link to the NMF site in the "Resources Guide" at the bottom of every single Menopause Cheat Sheet newsletter since day one (see below), and we're sure a few of you have taken the time to click and explore. But I encourage you all to take a look at the latest National Menopause Foundation quarterly newsletter (aptly titled "The Hot Flash") and think about following them.

They are doing good work, and the work they are doing benefits all women. 


Read This. 

Here is the link to the newsletter, which is chock full of important and highly engaging information. 

*********************************************************
 

A Room of One's Own

 

We've just started making appearances in chat rooms on Clubhouse -- the new-ish social platform -- talking about healthy aging, sex, menopause, and other things that are super interesting and important to us, and we would love for you to join in from time to time. It's easy-peasy because you just plug in by phone. It's all audio, no video, so if you're having a bad hair day, no problem. But you have to be a member. If someone sends you an invitation to join, definitely jump in (it's free!) and then follow me (Barbara Hannah Grufferman) and I'll follow you back. Here's a neat little overview of what Clubhouse is, how you do it, and so on and so forth. 

Let's get this party started . . . 

Please join the conversation over on my Facebook page: @BarbaraHannahGruffermanAuthor or send an email to menopausecheatsheet@gmail.com. 

 


ASK DR. MARGARET

Every week we ask our Medical Director – Dr. Margaret Nachtigall – to answer a pressing question from a reader. Note: this Q&A is not intended to replace a visit with your health care provider. Send questions to menopausecheatsheet@gmail.com and we'll feature in an upcoming issue!
#TellUsHowYouReallyFeel
 

For the next few weeks, Dr. Margaret will be answering questions from women who submitted questions during the live series we hosted. We couldn't get to them all!

Here's one from a viewer who watched the livestream on The Girlfriend Facebook page:


Evelyn P. asks "I take Black Cohosh for night sweats and it seems to work for me. Is this the best supplement?"


Dr. Margaret says . . .


Hi Evelyn!

It's good to hear that you are being helped with your hot flushes and night sweats, and glad that you would like to learn more about treatment options.

Black cohosh is an over-the-counter herbal supplement that has often been used for the treatment of menopausal symptoms including hot flushes. 

It is very important when using herbal supplements to recognize that these supplements are not FDA approved. There is no standard control over the ingredients or the appropriate dosing recommendations for these supplements.
 

There are only a few good randomized controlled studies looking at the effectiveness of black cohosh. The most-referenced one is a Cochran review, which looked at sixteen controlled trials with over 2,000 perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. The study compared black cohosh to placebo, as well as other products. Some studies showed that black cohosh helped relieve symptoms, while other studies showed no difference while using black cohosh. The authors concluded that there was not enough evidence to support the use of black cohosh for treatment of menopausal symptoms. 

The review also looked at the safety of black cohosh. They found that there were mild side effects such as gastrointestinal discomfort, some muscle aches, and a few isolated cases of hepatitis and liver failure. There was also some evidence that black cohosh may have interfered with the absorption of other medications that patients were taking.

Some other over-the-counter products that I have recommended are Relizen and Femarelle for reducing menopausal hot flushes, and you may want to take a look at those, as well. 

In summary, there is no one medication that is a good fit for everyone. it is an individual decision and must be based on what works for you and how the treatment makes you feel. But it is important to remember that over-the-counter products are not FDA controlled. I always recommend that you reach out to a trusted health care provider to discuss these options, and also review the the North American Menopause Society website (here is the link) for more information.

Stay in touch,
Dr. Margaret
 

Please send questions to:
menopausecheatsheet@gmail.com

Welcome to this week's issue of FASHION FLASH -- the best online mini-mag for women 45+! This week FF is hosted by No Nonsense Beauty BlogThese bloggers, all of whom are 45+, only focus on topics that are important to us, covering style, beauty, skincare, makeup, hair, travel, food, fitness, health and more. Enjoy!
#KickOffYourKittenHeelsAndDigIn
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Take a deeper dive into these incredible resources for women . . .


Barbara Hannah Grufferman, 
Founder and Editor of Menopause Cheat Sheet, is a highly regarded speaker, award-winning author of two books -- Love Your Age: The Small-Step Solution to a Better, Longer, Happier Life  and The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts' Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money and More  -- and also serves as President of Best of Everything Media. Barbara has been a guest on every major morning talk show including Today, Live with Kelly & Ryan, CBS Morning Show, Dr. Phil, The Talk, Dr. Oz and The Doctors. A champion of proactive and positive aging, she has been a contributor to AARP, Growing Bolder, HuffPost and is also a founding member of the Fashion Flash group of bloggers, which reaches hundreds of thousands of women each week. Barbara is a trustee and Ambassador for the National Osteoporosis Foundation and Ambassador for HealthyWomen.org. She started running shortly before turning 50 and has since completed nine marathons, an ultra-marathon and many shorter-distance races. Barbara is currently at work on her third book.

Dr. Margaret Nachtigall, Medical Director of Menopause Cheat Sheet, is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Langone Health, in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology in New York City. A prominent leader in women’s health with extensive clinical and research experience in polycystic ovarian syndrome, infertility and menopause, she is a founding member of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) and is a trustee on the Boards of The Foundation for Women’s Wellness and of the New York GYN Society. Dr. Margaret Nachtigall, a beloved clinician who comes from a family of renowned physicians, is a native New Yorker and runner, and is a highly sought-after speaker and expert on women’s health issues, a regular guest on Doctor Radio, and has appeared in many major news outlets and on national and local television shows and podcasts, including Dr. Oz and the Katie Couric show, offering advice and guidance to women who are experiencing menopause.
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