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What Does Menopause Have to Do With Heart Disease?

By HERWriter
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What Is the Link Between Menopause and Heart Disease? Gianfranco Bella/Fotolia

Women expect after their middle years to go through menopause. It is the natural course of our lives. However, did you know that going through menopause increases your risk of heart disease?

Heart disease is one of the top killers for women. According to the American Heart Association, one in three deaths among women are caused by heart disease each year.

Estrogen levels

After menopause, estrogen levels drop tremendously. It is thought that the drop in estrogen contributes to this increased risk as it affects our blood vessels and our metabolism.

The American Heart Association does not however, recommend that women take estrogen to lower the risk of heart disease.

Blood pressure

Lower estrogen contributes to less elasticity in your blood vessels, leading to higher blood pressure. High blood pressure puts more strain on your heart.

Cholesterol and fat

Lack of estrogen affects the metabolism of cholesterol and fat, causing increases in their levels. HDL (good cholesterol) levels can drop and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels can rise.


Women who go through menopause become more resistant to the action of insulin, causing elevated blood sugar and increased risk of diabetes.


Estrogen levels affect where women store their fat and how well fat is used for energy. Unfortunately, as estrogen levels drop, it may cause women to redistribute their body fat to the belly from their thighs, hips and buttocks.

Excess fat that deposits down deeper in the body is thought to contribute to increased inflammation, making women more susceptible to heart disease, diabetes and cancer, according to WebMD.

Read more in Your Guide for Menopause & Hot Flash Treatment Options

Heart disease, stroke risk factors may increase in severity before menopause. American Heart Association. Retrieved September 4, 2016.

Menopause and Heart Disease. American Heart Association. Go Red For Women. Retrieved September 4, 2016.

8 Signs Your Heart Is Changing During Menopause. Everyday Health.com. Retrieved September 4, 2016.

Oh, Do You Know the Muffin Top? WebMD.Retrieved September 4, 2016.

Xiao-Ping Yang and Jane F. Reckelhoff. Estrogen, hormonal replacement therapy and cardiovascular disease. Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens. 2011 Mar; 20(2): 133–138.

Diabetes, Heart Disease Risk Factors Spike Before Menopause – Study. Retrieved September 4, 2016. HealthNewsline.net.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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