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.
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 .
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
‘ 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 .
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 .