Cholesterol and Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD) tends to be thought of as a male health issue
But in women going through menopause and postmenopausal women, the risk of CVD increases four-fold, and it goes largely unrecognized.
In fact, more women die of heart disease and stroke
Than the next 16 causes combined, including breast cancer,
and yet the biggest fear for women is still breast cancer, especially in relation to HRT.
Changes in fat distribution from our hips to our middle during menopause increases our risk of CVD
As does being overweight in general.
Cholesterol levels naturally increase with age
For women, it is the increase in LDL (bad) and a decrease in HDL (good) cholesterol that is the big issue.
Oestrogen causes a reduction in overall cholesterol levels, increases good cholesterol, and reduces bad cholesterol so as we lose this protective hormone our risk increases.
Research shows Oestrogen has a protective ability against CVD,
In many studies decreasing risk by some 40-50% probably because Oestrogen promotes healthy blood vessels and may help delay plaque formation.
So what of the reports that HRT increases Cardiovascular risk?
A 1998 study found that women with a known CVD diagnosis did have an increased risk of a heart incident, but only in the first year.
Evidence shows that taking HRT early into menopause and before the age of 60 has the greatest health benefit.
Therefore its really important to know your stats and make sure you have regular Cholesterol and BP checks.
Doctor Louise Newson aka menopause doctor, has recently written an article about blood pressure and Menopause for the charity Blood Pressure UK.
Unfortunately, many women are told they cannot have HRT or advised to stop taking HRT if they have high blood pressure, when oestrogen given as a patch, spray or gel actually works to widen blood vessels which does not increase blood pressure and may help lower it
Her article is well worth a read http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/news/news/blood-pressure-the-menopause-and-hrt-html
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