February is National Heart Health month and the internet is abuzz with tips on reducing your risk of heart disease. Of course, we all know that not smoking, maintaining a healthy diet and weight and getting plenty of exercise are essential for a healthy heart. In this article, we want to bring your awareness to the important link between cardiovascular health and stress, depression and your hormones. And, why Feminine Balance Therapy Bio-Identical Progesterone Cream
may be a valuable addition to your prevention plan.
During his extensive clinical research, Dr. John Lee, MD found that bio-identical progesterone may be critical for heart health among perimenopausal women. He wrote, "Health is the condition we enjoy when all systems are in balance. This statement is particularly true with regard to hormone balance, and the heart is one of the first organs to experience problems when there is an imbalance.
Maintaining optimal hormone balance is an integral step in preventing cardiovascular disease and enjoying a healthy heart.” Dr. Lee summarized his findings by stating that "progesterone inhibits the changes that cause cholesterol to become harmful to arteries. In other words, progesterone is uniquely protective of arteries."
Our hormones are chemical messengers that communicate with every organ and cell in the body, playing a vital role in our well-being. Women are keenly aware of the body’s reaction to hormonal imbalances. Each month during their cycling years, surging estrogen levels cause increased stress and depression (PMS).
During the estrogen dominance phase of perimenopause, which can last 5-10 years, many women experience these symptoms (and more) on a daily basis. The reason? Too little progesterone (the “happy hormone”) and an excess of estrogen causes a hormonal imbalance with a huge impact on your body, mind and spirit.
With it's ability to help balance all of the hormones in the body, progesterone also promotes healthy thyroid function which is important for cardiovascular wellness. When there isn’t enough thyroid hormone, neither the heart nor the blood vessels can function normally. In hypothyroidism the heart muscle becomes weakened and can no longer pump as vigorously as it should. And, the heart muscle cannot fully relax between heart beats. This can produce diastolic dysfunction, a condition that can lead to heart failure. Hypothyroidism also causes blood vessels to stiffen, which can produce hypertension.
Earlier this year, a panel of experts from the American Heart Association announced that depression is a risk factor for heart disease after a study revealed that heart attacks more than doubled in women with moderate to severe depression. Stress is the key to understanding the association between depression and heart disease.
Initially, the body's immune system fights stress as it would a disease or infection. But over time, this chronic inflammatory response can lead to arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and cardiovascular disease. It's a vicious cycle: stress triggers depression which triggers chronic inflammation, which leads to heart disease, which causes depression, which leads to more heart disease.
It's interesting to note that the strategies for preventing heart disease from an Ayurvedic perspective include avoiding or eliminating causes leading to mental stress, calming the mind, supporting the hearts vital essence and achieving happiness. Conversely, many women in the US looked to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to achieve hormonal balance and prevent age and hormone related health conditions including heart disease. Sadly, research later showed that HRT not only fails to provide the heart health benefits promised, these synthetic hormones actually promote blood clots, strokes and high blood pressure.
Fortunately, bio-identical progesterone cream offers an alternative to HRT with a more holistic approach such as in Ayurvedic Medicine. Identical to what the body naturally produces, and as a precursor to other hormones, progesterone naturally restores hormonal balance. This “happy hormone” is also known to significantly ease stress and lift depression. Following years of clinical research, Dr. John Lee’s bestselling book, “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause” revealed the many benefits of restoring healthy progesterone levels in the body. Among those benefits are those listed below, which specifically support the cardiovascular system.