On the 9th of March NIPC hosted an NIPC Series webinar entitled Menopause and Heart Health – The Essential Facts. An all-Ireland panel of experts came together to discuss the unique health challenges women face during menopause and how these can be linked to increased cardiovascular risk factors.

Chaired by Marie-Louise Connolly, Health Correspondent, BBC Northern Ireland the panel of experts consisted of;

  • Dr Susan Connolly, Consultant Cardiologist, Integrated Care, University Hospitals Galway and CHO2 West
  • Dr Deirdre Lundy, Clinical Lead, Complex Menopause Service, National Maternity Hospital, Dublin
  • Dr Sandra McNeill, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist Consultant, Western Health and Social Care Trust
  • Dr Nicola Cochrane, GP & Menopause Specialist, Carrig Clinic and National Maternity Hospital, Dublin
  • Annie Costelloe, Head of Patient Community Engagement, Croí, West of Ireland Cardiac & Stroke Foundation

Over the course of 90 minutes the panellists lead an interactive discussion giving their unique perspectives from General Practice, Cardiology, Gynaecology and the lived patient experience. This was followed by an interactive Q&A session with attendees.

Opening proceedings, Marie-Louise Connolly framed the session as a journey, introducing menopause – what it means, how female patients present themselves to GPs and finally what happens if they begin to present with related cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Dr Nicola Cochrane began by discussing how female patients present themselves when attending her general practice, discussing the many symptoms that are associated with menopause and the important role that oestrogen plays in all aspects of women’s health. Dr McNeill and Dr Lundy then discussed their roles in helping to develop menopause awareness among various communities, emphasising the needs to normalise discussions about menopause in the workspace.

Both Sandra and Deirdre have been involved in establishing several initiatives to help facilitate these discussions. GPBuddy and PracticeNurseBuddy, are two such initiatives where people can register for free with an email address and can access free Q&A services with specialists or watch educational videos.

Dr Susan Connolly discussed the important role cholesterol and oestrogen levels play when women enter menopause but stressed that family history, diet and lifestyle were all elements that needed to be assessed when evaluating cardiovascular risk factors. Annie Costelloe advocated for a systemic change when it comes to the spectrum of women’s health issues but primarily around the need to create more public awareness, from clinicians to researchers, we all need to be open to discussing menopause and the associated cardiovascular risk factors.

To view a recording of this webinar, you must login or register HERE. Once logged in visit the ‘Library’ section where you can watch this and other NIPC Series webinars.