Estrogen has a protective effect on cardiovascular disease in women, but during menopause this estrogen levels decreases thus making women susceptible to cardiovascular diseases. After menopause, women are more prone to heart diseases. Know more about this.
Does menopause increase
the risk of heart diseases
Before menopause, heart diseases are uncommon in women who do not smoke, do not have hypertension, hyperlipidaemia
(excessive saturated fats in their blood) or diabetes. It is five times
more common in men than in pre-menopausal women but once menopause has
occurred, the risk of heart disease in women approaches that in men, suggesting
a role for the menopausing in this changed risk.
The etiology of heart disease is
complex and incompletely understood. However, several studies on the effect
of premature menopause on the incidence of heart diseases suggest that
earlier the cessation of ovarian function occurs greater the risk of cardiovascular
diseases. A role for estrogen deficiency in the etiology of this disease
is strongly suggestive.
How does menopause
increase the risk of heart diseases
High plasma levels of High-Density
Lipoprotein (HDL) concentrations protect the heart (cardio-protective),
whilst those of Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) concentrations increase the
risk of heart disease. Before menopause, serum LDL levels are lower
and HDL levels are higher. But after menopause, LDL levels increase
significantly, and thereby increase the risk of heart diseases.
Do women run a greater
risk of heart diseases than men
No. Before menopause, serum
LDL levels are lower in women than in men, and serum HDL levels are higher.
Following menopause, LDL levels in women rise but do not exceed the levels
in age-matched men.
What is the role of
the estrogen in preventing heart diseases
Estrogen in pre-menopausal women
has a protective effect on cardiovascular disease, probably mediated through
it's effect on the HDL:LDL ratio. But estrogen may work in other
ways such as by a direct effect on blood vessels or by stimulating direct
effect on blood flow in organs such as the skin, uterus, vulva and kidneys.
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