MyMT™ Blog

“The future is this moment, not some place out there.” [Tina Turner]

Her final movie is simply called ‘Tina’. It’s her farewell documentary as she  bows away from an extraordinary and exhausting career. Many of you, like me, may have followed her music for decades, and as the Christmas break is always a time for me to catch up on my ‘bucket-list’ of movies, watching ‘Tina’ was top of the list.

I thought I knew her story having read her book a couple of years ago, but this time, there she was, talking about her health and at one stage, having a hot flush and a moment of brain fog – yes, even Tina! The difference was that she had her makeup artist standing beside her, mopping her brow. As you do when you’re Tina Turner. 

I like to think that our generation can learn a lot from older women and how they are ageing. This was a distinct theme in my doctoral research. The women whom I was interviewing were very clear that they were trying to change their health in their 50s because they ‘didn’t want to age like their mother‘.

Every single one of them mentioned this as the primary driving force behind their quest to become healthier in mid-life. Except, they had no reference point for how to achieve this. Thus, many of my study subjects were reliant on information gleaned from those they interacted with in the course of their daily life, with no scientific reference point as to what information was valid and what wasn’t. 

That’s why I was interested in what Tina had to say about her changing health. It’s a lesson for all of us. A stroke in her 70s was the culmination of years of high blood pressure … which she ignored. To the point that kidney disease arrived to escort her into her older age. I also remember reading this in her book,  

“I was already a high-risk patient but my risk escalated when tests showed that my heart had been damaged by so many years of high blood pressure: the muscle was enlarged and the vessels calcified.”  [p. 262].

High blood pressure (hypertension) found it’s way to me in menopause and I wondered if this was the same entry point for Tina. I’ve written a lot about this aspect of our health in menopause in my blogs this year, and how declining levels of oestrogen as well as aspects of our lifestyle (past and present) lead to a condition that is known as vascular stiffness. It was the same for Tina. 

Heart disease remains the number 1 health concern as women age in New Zealand, Australia, America and the UK. [WHO, 2017], yet numerous books which purport to be in the ‘Top 10 Best-sellers’ about menopause that sit on my bookshelf or on my kindle, fail to mention this crucial piece of the healthy-ageing puzzle.

As well, if you are post-menopausal and getting hot flushes, then don’t forget, this is because your blood vessels and other organs are ageing and changing. This is why I’m always telling you to change your lifestyle to better accommodate the physiological changes that arrive in our menopause years. As Tina rightly mentions, “the future is this moment, not some place out there.”  Wise words that we can all learn from indeed.

With the days flying into the New Year, I wanted to encourage you to start to think about how you might be able to make some changes to your lifestyle.

If you already have health changes or musculo-skeletal challenges that have arrived in your menopause years, or menopause hormonal changes have made existing health concerns worse, then yes, it’s not only about taking medications or supplements for menopause but also about making changes to your lifestyle too.

As we end 2021, I wanted to remind you what I believe are some of the main factors to address during our menopause and post-menopause years. 

1.Your body is ageing and these age-related changes lead to inflammation or the inflammation is already there based on your current lifestyle. In ageing research, this is now known as ‘inflammaging’ – and this is why I often say that menopause symptoms are a sign that your body is out of balance, not due to your hormones, but due to ageing changes.  

2. Menopause related insomnia leads to worsening symptoms because your body isn’t healing and recovering adequately overnight. Tina Turner mentions being an insomniac in both her book and her recent documentary – late nights after concerts and not falling asleep until the early hours. As such, her circadian rhythm would have been out of balance for decades. Not only does our circadian rhythm affect our sleep, but the working of other organs too – especially our gut. If you aren’t sleeping then your blood pressure doesn’t drop overnight, nor does insulin and your stress hormone called cortisol – as such, immune health changes and for millions of women, they experience weight gain as they move towards post-menopause. 

3. When we are feeling stressed in our mind and body (emotional stress and oxidative (cellular) stress, brain fog, anxiety, depression, gut health, and muscle aches and pains become worse. The research connecting both emotional and oxidative stress to menopause symptoms and heart disease is well evidenced. One can only imagine the years of emotional stress that the incredible Tina suffered. However, there is more to this too and that is the high levels of activity over many years that Tina experienced. The connection between not sleeping, high levels of physical activity and inflammation in joints, muscles (including cardiac muscle) and tissues, leads to increased inflammation and what is known as ‘oxidative stress’. When inflammation is high in the body, blood pressure changes too.

4. Menopause-specific metabolic risks increase leading to weight gain in numerous women as they transition menopause and move into post-menopause. This is primarily due to liver and gut health changes which affect fat and protein metabolism in women. This is why a high-fat, high protein diet that are very popular these days, may not suit some women and why many women struggle to lose weight and keep it off, especially around the breast and abdominal areas. 

Menopause is the gateway to our biological ageing and in an age of anti-ageing and resisting ageing, many women may not understand that when oestrogen levels decline, there are numerous structural changes that occur in our body. So, when we keep doing the exercise that we’ve done, eating the way we have eaten for decades and living the life that we have lived, sometimes our body fights back – usually in the form if increasing inflammation. As Tina’s did too.

Mid-life women have so much more to offer society, and this is why I felt that we were being forgotten when it came to knowing what to do to navigate menopause and post-menopause with our health intact!

This is why I decided to only target women in their menopause transition with the design of the MyMT™ programmes – many other lifestyle adjustment programmes are not specific to menopause. However, with vascular and muscular changes increasing our risk of heart disease as we age, we need to know what to change and why – this is the essence of the programmes. For example, one of the supplements that I recommend to women on my programmes, is nothing to do with menopause, but all to do with our heart health and ageing research.

I’ve talked about a compound called CoQ10 in oast articles. This powerful enzyme helps oxygen get taken up into our mitochondria, including heart mitochondria, and thanks to American Cardiologist, Dr Stephen Sinatra, it’s well evidenced that levels of this enzyme decline as we age. This research wasn’t available to our mother’s generation, but we can use this knowledge wisely. Just a note of caution though and that is, that many CoQ10 supplements doses are very high. The original research was on doses of 60-80mg, so please check with your Doctor, Naturopath or Pharmacist about whether it is suitable for you, especially if you are on medications, including HRT and/or anti-depressants. 

So, how are your symptoms going? Are you sleeping all night? Are your hot flushes, night sweats mood swings, cardiac palpitations or joint pain getting you down? Or is that weight stacking on and no amount of dieting or exercise is controlling it? If so, then will you join me during January?   

Whilst I do have two menopause-specific lifestyle change programmes (both online), I’m excited that I have the TRANSFORM ME weight loss programme ON SALE for you now.

Created for the reduction of my own symptoms, including turning around my blood pressure and sleep, when endless supplements and hormone therapies didn’t work (Read my Story HERE), and based on my women’s healthy ageing research, everything you learn, will simply, transform you.

Please use the promo code JANUARY2022 to access your savings of NZ$100. 

Part-payment options are available over 3 months too, making this fabulous programme better suited to your budget. My video explaining the sale is below. It would be my privilege to support you, because as Tina said, ‘the future is this moment, not some place ‘out there’. 

Dr Wendy Sweet (PhD)/ MyMT™ Founder and Member: Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine. 

 

References:

Angeli, F., Reboldi, G., Trapasso, M., Aita, A., & Verdecchia, P. (2019). Managing hypertension in 2018: which guideline to follow?. Heart Asia11(1), e011127. https://doi.org/10.1136/heartasia-2018-011127

Babiker FA, De Windt LJ, van Eickels M, Grohe C, Meyer R, Doevendans PA. Estrogenic hormone action in the heart: regulatory network and function. Cardiovasc Res. 2002;53(3):709-719. doi:10.1016/s0008-6363(01)00526-0

Douma, L. G., & Gumz, M. L. (2018). Circadian clock-mediated regulation of blood pressure. Free radical biology & medicine119, 108–114. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2017.11.024

Kateepe-Arachi T. & Sanjay, S. (2016). Cardiovascular Disease in Women: Understanding Symptoms and Risk Factors. European Cardiology Review 2017;12(1):10–3.

Lima, R., Wofford, M., & Reckelhoff, J. F. (2012). Hypertension in postmenopausal women. Current hypertension reports14(3), 254–260. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11906-012-0260-0

Sinatra, S. (2011). The Sinatra Solution. California: Basic Health Publications

Turner T., Davis D. & Wichman, D. (2018). My Love Story: Tina Turner, The Autobiography. Penguin Random House: London, UK

Zhou, B., Danaei, G. … Ezzati, M. (2019). Long-term and recent trends in hypertension awareness, treatment, and control in 12 high-income countries: an analysis of 123 nationally representative surveys. The Lancet, 394 doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(19)31145-6

“If you have ever wondered if there was a clear easy plan to follow to sleep all night, reduce hot flushes and prevent or reduce your weight gain during menopause, then ‘welcome’ – you’re in the right place now.”

Discover how either of my two Menopause Transformation programmes might help you too or take my Symptoms Quiz below… 

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