Heart disease isn’t just a man’s problem. Women also face an increased risk
as they age, particularly after menopause. By becoming aware of the increased
chance of developing heart disease after menopause, women can take steps
to remain heart-healthy. Why does menopause mark a turning point for women
and their heart disease risk? Here is what you need to know.
Heart Disease and Menopause
Although menopause does not cause heart disease, there does appear to
be a link between the onset of menopause and an increased risk. Doctors
suspect that falling levels of estrogen may be to blame. Estrogen helps
to keep the inner layers of blood vessel walls flexible, which assists
in healthy blood flow. When estrogen levels decline during menopause,
the blood vessels can become stiffer, and the risk of blood flow being
disrupted increases. This may be the reason that a spike in the risk of
heart attacks for women occurs about
10 years after menopause. Other changes in the body that occur after menopause also support a greater
heart disease risk, including increased cholesterol, blood pressure, and
triglycerides. Women who are overweight at the time of menopause and who
smoke or eat an unhealthy diet have an even greater risk of experiencing
Coping with the Risks
Although the risk of heart disease increases after menopause, there are
many things women can do to protect their heart health. Start by embracing
a healthy lifestyle, with physical activity on most days and a diet rich
in healthy fats and fiber and low in added sugars. See your doctor regularly
for checkups and carefully manage conditions that can contribute to heart
disease, such as diabetes. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about strategies
that can help you quit.
Get the heart care you need at Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center.
From our physicians to our emergency care in Las Vegas, we can help you
manage heart disease and live a healthier life. For more information about
our hospital or a
referral to one of our physicians, please call (702) 880-2700.