Health Concerns - Heart Disease
Herbal remedies - Making menopause manageable.
Women Logo Home Pharmacy Library Medical Professionals   About Us Contact Us Site Map
Menopause Related Health Guides
Health Concerns
Bladder Infection - U.T.I.
Bone Thinning
Breast Cancer
Colon Cancer
Gas & Flatulence
GI Disorders
Gum & Peridontal Disease
Gynecological Cancers
Hair Loss & Facial Hair
Heart Desease
Hign Cholesterol
Sexual Dysfunction
Success Stories

Enter your e-mail here to sign up.

Menopause Survival Kit
Menopuase Survival kit including month's supply of black cohosh supplementSign up for the MenopauseRx Menopause and Perimenopause Survival Kit to receive free educational materials and coupons for products to relieve menopause symptoms including a full sized sample of a Remifemin® black cohosh supplement.
- Order Now

Heart Disese

Risk of Heart Disease / Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) claims the lives of more than 500,000 women each year. This is more than the next 16 common causes of death in women combined, including all forms of cancer (including breast cancer). Coronary heart disease claims the lives of over 236,000 females annually compared with 43,800 lives from breast cancer and 60,600 from lung cancer. There are many misperceptions about risks among women. Fewer than 1 in 10 women think of CVD as their greatest health problem, even though it represents 45% of all deaths for women age 25 and older.

Despite an overall reduction in the death rate due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in the United States over the last several decades, the rate of decline is less for women than for men and less for African-American women than for white women. In light of our aging population, the absolute number of deaths due to CVD in women is actually increasing. Because the risk of CVD increases with age, the need for an increased awareness and education about the importance of CVD should be considered a primary goal for all women as they approach menopause.

Effects of High Cholesterol
Many studies found that women with higher total cholesterol levels also have higher rates of coronary artery disease. After menopause, the development of atherosclerosis (a buildup of cholesterol in the coronary arteries) can progress. Left untreated, atherosclerosis can eventually cause a heart attack by blocking the supply of blood to the heart.

Controlling Cholesterol Risk
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) panel of experts has outlined CVD risk factors. Behavioral modification is extremely beneficial in controlling elevated cholesterol levels. Dietary restriction and physical activity are known therapies to lower elevated cholesterol levels. If still elevated, medical therapy is very effective. A group of drugs called 'statins' have been proven to lower CVD events and deaths when used to manage elevated cholesterol levels.

Soy has been found to be helpful for lowering the risk of heart disease. A review of numerous studies on the effects of soy rich diets found reduced total cholesterol (9%), bad (LDL) cholesterol (13%), and triglycerides (11%) with an average intake of 47 grams of soy per day. Soy phytoestrogen supplementation was found to have a beneficial effect on specific markers in postmenopausal women with diabetes, thus improving their cardiovascular risk profile. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved soy dietary supplementation. They recommend that 25 grams of soy per day with a prudent diet may reduce the risk of heart disease.

For women working to prevent CVD, some important guidance to reduce risk include:

  1. Quit Smoking. Women should consider smoking and second hand smoke as a significant risk factor that can be positively altered by quitting.
  2. Control your Blood Pressure. Evaluating and treating elevated blood pressure can positively impact the risk of CVD. Lifestyle modification -- weight control, increased physical activity, alcohol moderation and moderate sodium restriction can be helpful in controlling blood pressure.
  3. Reduce your Cholesterol. Measuring cholesterol in all adults at least every 5 years may be beneficial. Interpreting HDL, LDL, and triglycerides should be done with every cholesterol result. The primary goal of LDL (bad cholesterol) management is to reduce to a number less than 160 in low risk individuals and less than 130 in higher risk individuals. Your physician can help determine your risk and LDL goal.
  4. Increase Physical Activity. At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most days of the week (brisk walking, jogging, cycling or other aerobic activity) as well as increased daily lifestyle activities for inactive persons is encouraged. Regular exercise improves conditioning and promotes optimum fitness. Before staring any exercise program, discuss with your physician the types of exercise and goals to be set.
  5. Control your Weight. Your doctor should assess your body mass index (BMI) by measuring your height and weight and compare with optimal values. Work to achieve the recommended BMI of between 18 and 25.
  6. Control your Diabetes. Women with diabetes are at higher risk of CVD. Proper blood sugar control can help to decrease the risk of CVD.

Recent News:

  1. Postmenopausal women and treatment for high cholesterol.
    The popular group of medications used to treat high cholesterol called ‘statins’ has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in post-menopausal women (Circulation 2002;105:2962-7). Data from a large study of over 2700 post-menopausal women (the HERS -or- Heart and Estrogen/progestin Replacement Study) evaluated the impact of 'statin' use on heart attack or death from coronary heart disease. Follow-up was over 4 years. A 21% reduction in heart attack and 33% reduction in death from coronary heart disease was seen in this part of the HERS study. Researchers suggested "the present study...provides, for the first time, evidence that statins may lower total mortality in women. These results...provide substantial additional support for statin use in post-menopausal women with coronary heart disease".
  2. Effects of Moderate Alcohol Intake in Post-Menopausal Women.
    A recent study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association studied the effects of moderate alcohol intake. This randomized, controlled trial (JAMA, May 15, 2002 - Vol 287, No. 19, pg 2559-2562) of 63 healthy, postmenopausal women was performed in Maryland between 1998 and 1999. The study subjects were randomly assigned to consume 0, 1, and 2 drinks of alcohol per day for 8 weeks as part of a controlled diet. The researcher’s measured insulin, triglyceride and glucose levels during the trial. 51 women completed the trial and the results showed that consuming 2 drinks of alcohol per day have beneficial effects on insulin and triglyceride concentrations in non-diabetic post-menopausal women. The results were similar among normal weight, overweight and obese participants. The researchers commented that the study findings may reveal that moderate alcohol intake may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the healthy postmenopausal woman. They also commented that the alcohol consumption did raise certain steroid hormone levels during the study and the impact of this increase was unknown. Another important factor to keep in mind with this study is that the study subjects were healthy women. The results should not be interpreted in those women with existing medical problems, such as pre-existing diabetes, hypertension or heart disease.

MenopauseRx urges women to have their cholesterol level checked and alter risk factors that are able to be modified.

The information provided by MenopauseRx, Inc. is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health-care provider. Please consult your health-care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.