Free NHS Blood Pressure Checks are available at Boots stores in England for people aged 40+
Boots Superintendent Pharmacist offers advice on how to maintain heart health during menopause and how to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
Ahead of World Menopause Day on 18th October, Boots Superintendent Pharmacist Claire Nevinson is raising awareness of the connection between menopause and heart health and is encouraging women over 40 to get a Free NHS Blood Pressure Check at their local pharmacy.
The theme of this year’s World Menopause Day, which aims to raise awareness of the menopause and the support that is available, is cardiovascular disease.
In women, oestrogen plays a role in protection against cardiovascular disease. Oestrogen has a protective effect on the heart and blood vessels. As well as offering some protection against coronary heart disease, it also helps control cholesterol, reducing the build-up of plaques or blockages in blood vessels.
During menopause, women’s oestrogen levels start to decrease and so does its beneficial effects, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and other heart related illnesses.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can be an additional risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease, as well as a warning sign. A Free NHS Blood Pressure Check is available at most Boots pharmacies in England for patients aged 40 and over.*
Claire Nevinson, Superintendent Pharmacist at Boots, said:
“Menopause can increase the risk of heart related illnesses in women, which is why it is so important to take steps to maintain a healthy heart as you reach this life stage. I encourage all women over 40 to get a Free NHS Blood Pressure Check at their local pharmacy, as high blood pressure usually does not have any symptoms, but can develop into cardiovascular disease, which women are at increased risk of as they enter into menopause. If you have any concerns about your heart health or other signs and symptoms of menopause, you can speak to your local Boots pharmacist for advice and support.”
As well as encouraging women aged 40 or over to get a Free NHS Blood Pressure check, Claire is also sharing some advice about the risk of cardiovascualr disease during the menopause and steps women can take to support their heart health.
Why is the risk of cardiovascular disease higher during menopause?
“Oestrogen naturally occurs in a woman’s body and has a protective effect on the heart and blood vessels. As well as offering some protection against coronary heart disease, it also helps control cholesterol, reducing the build-up of plaques or blockages in blood vessels.
“During and after the menopause, oestrogen levels decrease, so this protection also decreases. Loss of oestrogen can also cause weight gain, especially around the waist area, which is also associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure can also increase your risk of cardiovascular disease as well as being a warning sign.”
I’m concerned about my heart health, what can I do?
“During and after menopause, it is really important to maintain a healthy weight, follow a balanced and healthy diet, stop smoking if you are a smoker, limit alcohol intake to within Government guidelines, and take regular exercise. These lifestyle changes can play a significant role to help prevent heart disease.
“It is also important to check your blood pressure. People who are over 40 and don’t have a previous diagnosis of hypertension can visit their local Boots pharmacy in England for a Free NHS Blood Pressure Check. Your Boots pharmacist will then talk you through your blood pressure readings and provide advice and, if required refer you to your GP.”
Does Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) help support cardiovascular health during menopause?
“Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) involves using oestrogen to replace your body's own levels around the time of the menopause and many women choose to take HRT to help combat symptoms. It is for this reason that taking HRT can also reduce your risk of hormone-related health problems including osteoporosis and heart disease.”
At Boots, women can find products, services and advice to help them take control of over 40 signs and symptoms of the menopause, available at its award-winning menopause hub on boots.com. Customers can also walk into any Boots store to speak with a Boots pharmacist for support, with no appointment needed, and many stores have consultation rooms available for privacy.
*Available in participating stores, England only. The NHS Blood Pressure Check Service is for adults aged 40+ that do not currently have a diagnosis of hypertension, adults under 40 that have a recognised family history of hypertension (at the Pharmacist’s discretion) and adults referred by the GP for the measurement of blood pressure. Subject to availability.