Be still my beating heart?

Posted by on Sep 12, 2011 in heart disease | 4 comments


Menopause causes a woman’s risk for dying from heart to disease to spike, correct? If you take a look at the studies I’ve been writing about since starting this blog, the answer would be an unequivocal “yes.”

What we do know to be true is that risk for heart disease increases with age and that heart disease is a leading cause of death among women. Yet, symptoms can be different in women and may even show up at a later age compared to men. Still, the long-held theory that menopause acts as an accelerator and an equalizer has just been turned on it’s toes by a newly published study in the British Medical Journal.

The study authors say that clinical and epidemiological data that demonstrate that menopause is key culprit are simply not there. Rather, they believe that women’s increase in deaths from heart disease can be attributed to a gradual decline of cells that act to repair and replenish our circulation. To prove their point, they reviewed death from heart disease over time in three different cohorts based on the time period when they were born (i.e. 1916-1925, 1926-1935 and 1936-1945).

Indeed, what they found was that none of the groups of women had any sort of significant upswing in heart disease deaths around the time of menopause. Instead, deaths from heart disease increased exponentially over time — by 7.9% per age year. In contrast, death from heart disease in men increased by about 30% per year up to age 45 and then slowed to about 5.2% per year thereafter.

When it comes to heart disease, the great equalizer between women and men appears to be age and not hormones. Even then, more men can be expected to die from heart disease than women, at least until an advanced age.

The reason this is so important is that the focus in women has long been on menopause and efforts to improve heart health based on that time period. The findings imply that we need a wake up call and that efforts to improve our hearts should be based on lifetime risk rather than the time from menopause and beyond.

The time is now ladies. Be kind to your heart; focus on diet, exercise and weight. And truly, still the risk for heart disease before it stills your beating heart for good.





  1. 9-12-2011

    I like the opening instrumentals in this Sting clip. A healthy heart needs a support system!

    • 9-12-2011

      LOL Elaine! Thanks. And hope that the info was interesting too đŸ˜‰

  2. 9-14-2011

    It’s so annoying that something that happens naturally to our bodies can lead to so many complications! Good post!

  3. 9-16-2011

    Great review. Would you be interested in writing an article/post for our blog

    We’re doing an issue on menopause next week, dispelling myths and bringing science to women’s health is one of our goals. I could see a whole series on CVD and other conditions. Some of my research (non-published) involved mapping hormone pathways associated with the different types of tissue damage in CVD with comorbid T1 and T2 diabetes– the perceptions are not reality the cell level. Unfortunately, until we start actually measuring hormones and other key biomarkers in women’s health, the myths will stand.


  1. Wednesday Bubble: Women, Heart Disease & Diet | FlashFree : Not Your Mama's Menopause - [...] replenish circulation and not much at all to do with waning hormone levels. You can read about that here. Cholesterol…

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