Menopause and Heart Health Infographic

Menopause and Heart Health Infographic

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Menopause and Heart Health

Heart disease risk rises for everyone as they age, but for women, the years leading up to and after menopause are a critical time to care for their health.

Menopause is a natural phase of life for most women in their 40s or 50s.

It’s often just called menopause, but menopause actually has three stages:

  1. Perimenopause
    • Includes the most symptomatic years
    • Key time for a woman to reduce CVD risk factors and care for her heart health
  2. Menopause
    • When a woman’s period stops permanently
    • 12 months in a row without menstruation
  3. Postmenopause
    • Many women will spend up to 40% of their lives postmenopausal or “after menopause”

Cardiovascular Risk Factors

Menopause does not cause cardiovascular disease; however, during the menopausal transition women experience many changes in their bodies, including some that can impact their cardiovascular health:

  • Decline in estrogen levels
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Increased body fat around the organs
  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Stiffening or weakening of the blood vessels
  • Increased risk of metabolic syndrome – 3 or more of:
    • High blood glucose (sugar)
    • Low levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol in the blood
    • High levels of triglycerides in the blood
    • Large waist circumference
    • High blood pressure

The early natural menopause (prior to 45 years of age) and the surgical removal of the ovaries can also increase a woman’s risk for cardiovascular disease.

Take Menopause to Heart

Women are at a greater risk for heart disease and stroke after menopause, making it even more important to focus on your health before menopause, and throughout the menopausal transition.

  • Get plenty of exercise/physical activity
  • Eat healthy
  • Quit smoking
  • Manage your stress
  • Know your numbers
    • Blood pressure
    • Body Mass Index (BMI)
    • Cholesterol
    • Blood glucose (blood sugar

Talk to your health care team about your risk factors and how to prevent cardiovascular disease during middle age.

To learn more, visit goredforwomen.org/menopause

© Copyright 2021 American Heart Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit. All rights reserved. Go Red for Women is a registered trademark of AHA.

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