Ayurveda And Heart Care During Menopause

                                                      World Heart Day – 2013

This year’s theme addresses the importance of a life-course approach to the prevention and control of cardiovascular disease (CVD) with a focus on women and children. 

Today we have an opportunity to prevent the future impact of heart disease and stroke by adopting heart-healthy living from childhood throughout adulthood.

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Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women accounting for approximately 45% of mortality .The incidence of coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction in women which is about a fourth of that in men in premenopausal years rapidly increases in the postmenopausal years to approximately same as men  . Atherogenic lipids are also increased.

This has been attributed partly to alterations in lipid profile . The HDL or good cholesterol level is about 10 mg/dl higher in both pre and post menopausal women than in men . However total and LDL or bad cholesterol levels which are lower in premenopausal women rise rapidly after menopause .

According to Ayurveda , decline in ojus , avalambaka kapha due to excess of vata causes cardiovascular diseases .

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Menopause : According to WHO , Menopause is the permanent cessation of menstruation resulting from the loss of ovrian follicular activity . The average age is around 50 years with limits between 45 – 55 years .

According to Ayurveda , Rajonivritti ( menopause ) is a normal physiology which occurs due to ageing .

      Rajonivritti is made up of ‘ Rajah ’ & ‘ Nivritti ’ where

                              Rajah is artava ( menstrual blood ) , stri pushpa ( ovum )

                              Nivritti is end or cessation , therefore

‘ Rajo stri pushpasya nivrittyasya’ ie cessation of menstruation and ovulation is called Rajonivritti.

During the period of Rajonivritti , there is decline in the nourishment and function of all the dhatus ( tissues ) of body . Ageing process affects the homeostatic efficiency of the body .

Cardiovascular Symptoms :

*  Palpitations and precordial pains .

*  Hot Flushes : They vary in number from 1-2 in 24 hours to 1 in every 15 – 30 minutes and often associated with profuse sweating .

They occur by night as well as by day and sleep is disturbed by night sweats which leave woman bathed in perspiration . Vasodilatation is followed by vasoconstriction , so after a flush comes a shiver .

Ayurvedic Management :

          To lead a quality and healthy life Ayurveda has advocated Rasayan Therapy . Rasayan can be understood as a vitalizer which replenishes the vital tissues or dhatus . Rasayanas are of three types :

a)      Achara Rasayan ( Daily Routine )

b)      Ahara Rasayan ( Diet )

c)       Dravya Rasayan ( Herbs )

ACHARA RASAYAN : It is related to lifestyle management . It has been proved that good moral life with hygienic living and physically active routine improves quality of life .

                 Sedentary lifestyle , cigarette smoking , high intake of salt , consumption of alcohol , coffee , aerated drinks should be avoided as they are associated with high incidence of osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases .

AHARA RASAYAN : A balanced vegetarian diet is the most important aspect of the preventive management of menopause . Daily intake of Ghee  ( clarified butter ) , milk  – articles  which increase kapha , can delay the onset of menopause . Ghee is a good source of omega -3-fatty acids and  reduces atherogenic lipids in serum .

                 Chickpea , Bengal gram , Black gram , Sesamum seeds , Flax seeds , Sunflower seeds , Poppy seeds , Caraway seeds , Wheat grains , Oatmeal, Garlic , Carrots , Peanuts , Green Tea etc are good source of phytoestrogens.  Though there is no definite dietary amount recommendation but can be taken in small amounts from premenopausal period .

                  Phytoestrogens are plant derived substances whose structure result in a chemical nature similar to endogenous oestrogens of humans. They have antioxidant property and are adaptogens also . Phytoestrogens act as SERM    ( Selective Oestrogen Receptor Modulators ) which produce the desired action without side effects .  They act as anti oestrogenic in breast and uterine tissue but oestrogenic in bone , brain , lipid metabolism and cardiovascular system .

DRAVYA RASAYAN : Herbal rasayanas are good anti oxidants. They also provide micronutrients in bioavailable form and are capable of nourishing the dhatus     ( tissues ) .Herbs having rasayan property are mainly – Tinospora cordifolia , Piper longum , Ocimum sanctum , Asparagus racemosa , Withania somnifera , Glycerrhiza glabra , Sida cordifolia , Punica granatum ,Embelica officinalis etc .

                For cardiovascular system Terminalia arjuna is the best cardioprotective and cardiac tonic . Along with this Allium sativum , Commiphora mukul , Vitis vinifera , Zingiber officinale , Nardostachys jatamansi etc can be taken under supervision .

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                Menopause is not an oestrogen deficient state . Rather it is a transition phase in which all the systems are affected . So Ayurveda can assist women in their journey towards better physical , mental & spiritual health during menopause .

                  Women, children and heart disease :

       ACT NOW  to protect the hearts of those you love


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