how common is heart disease in women

Women go through so many life changing moments. From puberty, dealing with their monthly period, development of breasts, pregnancy and delivery, raising the kids and then menopause! This is exhausting and frustrating at times but, women deal with it and do a pretty good job at it.

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There is also one other important aspect in a woman’s life that not all women do well in — taking care of their health. Women take care of everybody else – their husband, their children, the family, their bosses – so much, and they always put themselves last. Well, doing so has put them in great risk of so many diseases out there but the number 1 leading cause of death in women in the US for women over 40 years old and in menopause.
Well, now you may be thinking: what’s menopause got to do with heart disease? As you know, menopause is a natural cycle that women go through. The ovaries gradually produce less and less estrogen. Estrogen causes the monthly menstrual cycle. When the ovaries finally stop making estrogen that is what we call menopause. This is a natural occurrence and happens between the ages of 45 – 55. Lower estrogen levels puts women at higher risk for heart attack. This is because, the walls of the blood vessels makes it more likely to cause plaque and thus more likely for blood clots to form. The changes in the levels of the bad cholesterol increases and the good cholesterol decreases and lastly, it increases fibrinogen levels – this is the substance in the blood that helps blood clot. Increased levels of fibrinogen are usually related to stroke and heart disease as it makes it more likely for blood to clot which then narrows the arteries and thus reducing the flow of blood to the heart.
What should menopausal women do to prevent heart attack? It is important to note that taking care of one’s self should start early on. Having a healthy and happy life is from having good health. Avoid smoking, maintain an ideal weight or, if you are over weight, then lose those extra pounds, get involved in frequent exercise, about 30 – 40 minutes 3 to 4 times a week – is good for the body not to mention it helps clear the mind and relaxes the body and, most importantly, if you are sick and are suffering from some sort of disease, make sure you go to your physician and treat your condition, take the proper medication and do not ignore your high cholesterol level and/or hypertension (if you have them) for they are the first and foremost instigators of a heart attack. Frequent doctor visits could only do good for your body. Eat the right food – foods rich in vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables.
Could HRT or Hormone Replacement Therapy help? Previous studies thought that HRT could help reduce the risk of heart attack however, recent studies have concluded that it did not show any difference in women who used HRT for 4 years. In fact the reverse was shown – women in HRT, some of them, has show side effects rather than showing good results.

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