Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Changes during menopause increases risk of heart disease and stroke

Date:
February 24, 2010
Source:
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Summary:
Around the time of menopause, studies have shown the threat for heart disease intensifies drastically and detecting cardiovascular disease in women is very difficult.

When women hear the word menopause, they often think about hot flashes, hormone shifts and mood swings. But what about heart disease? Studies show a woman's risk of heart disease intensifies drastically around the time of natural menopause, which for most women is around the age of 50. This news may come as a surprise, but experts explain that understanding risk factors is an important first step, and reassure women that there are ways to lower your risk.

Related Articles


"Many women younger than 50 have not yet gone through menopause and still have high levels of the female hormone estrogen in their blood, which is thought to help protect the heart. After menopause, however, the levels of estrogen in a woman's body drop significantly and can contribute to the higher risks of cardiovascular disease," explains Vera Rigolin,MD, associate director of the Center for Women's Cardiovascular Health in the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Weight gain is also a factor that may play a role in postmenopausal risk of heart disease. Maintaining a healthy weight often becomes difficult after your body experiences a change in hormone levels. Extra mass can take a toll on the body causing physical inactivity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, all risk factors that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Detecting heart disease in women can be difficult. Many women are unaware that symptoms of the disease may differ from those of men. Although women often experience chest discomfort when presenting with a heart attack, they commonly have other, more subtle symptoms, including fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, jaw pain and general discomfort in the chest and abdominal area.

"In some women, plaque can build in the smallest blood vessels called the microvascular circulation. These blockages do not show up in an angiogram," says Rigolin. "In these cases, we often use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) with medication to visualize blood flow within the small blood vessels when other standard tests do not provide us answers."

Women, especially those who are menopausal can reduce the risk of heart disease by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

"If you are a smoker, quit immediately and avoid second hand smoke. Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and exercise at least three times per week to maintain a healthy body weight," says Rigolin.

Rigolin also recommends visiting your health care provider at least once per year to have your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels checked.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "Changes during menopause increases risk of heart disease and stroke." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100223132015.htm>.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital. (2010, February 24). Changes during menopause increases risk of heart disease and stroke. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100223132015.htm
Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "Changes during menopause increases risk of heart disease and stroke." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100223132015.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins