Post-Menopausal Women Face increased Risk Of Heart Disease

In Education

Menopause presents challenges for women, including hot flashes, sleep issues, and mood swings. Scientists warn of another concern: heightened risk of heart disease post-menopause, indicating a significant health transition.

Women have higher risk of heart issues in midlife than men

Women typically have a lower risk of heart issues than men until midlife, contributing to their longer life expectancy. However, after menopause, the risk increases significantly due to a faster accumulation of plaque in the arteries, as revealed in recent research presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session.

Study authors reveal that heart disease risk between genders becomes nearly equal in later life, with women facing higher odds. Even with cholesterol-lowering statins, many women still experience significant plaque buildup. The shift in risk is attributed to hormonal factors.

Dr. Ella Ishaaya, the lead author of the study conducted at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, said that the decrease in estrogen levels post-menopause leads to a higher concentration of testosterone in women, impacting fat storage, distribution, processing, and blood clotting. These changes elevate the risk of heart disease development.

The study found significant gender differences in coronary artery calcium (CAC) progression. In the lowest CAC group (1-99), women experienced a median increase of eight points between scans, double that of men. In the middle group (100-399), women’s CAC levels increased by a median of 31 points, nearly twice that of men. No significant gender difference was observed in the highest CAC group (400 or higher).

Prevalence of heart disease high in postmenopausal women

It is important for post-menopausal women to address their risk of heart disease, which is a leading cause of death. The study highlights historical neglect of women’s heart health due to differences in symptoms and onset compared to men. A recent study by the American Heart Association indicates a significant prevalence of heart disease among women over 20, emphasizing the need for attention to this issue.

Post-menopausal women need to prioritize their heart health by discussing risk factors with their doctor, adhering to recommended tests and monitoring, and understanding the specific challenges they encounter post-menopause.

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