The idea of going through menopause certainly brings on heart attack like emotions for many women. This stage in life can easily send a woman into a whirlwind of panic, but science has proven going through menopause quite literally adds strain to a woman’s heart, increasing risks of heart conditions. Below are 3 signs that your heart is changing during menopause:
1)High blood pressure: When estrogen levels drop, your heart and blood vessels become stiff and less elastic. Because of these changes, your blood pressure tends to rise. Elevated blood pressure can place added strain on the heart, says Joanne Foody, MD, medical director of cardiovascular wellness service at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School.
2)High cholesterol: Lack of estrogen also can cause detrimental changes in your cholesterol and blood fats. Your good cholesterol (HDL) may go down, and your bad cholesterol (LDL) may go up, which increases your risk of heart attacks and dying of heart disease, says Dr. Foody. Triglycerides, another kind of fat in the blood, also increase from a lack of estrogen.
3) Diabetes: When women go through menopause, they can also become more resistant to insulin, the hormone needed to convert blood sugar and starches into energy for cells to use. As a result, “women are more likely to become pre-diabetic and diabetic as they transition to pre-menopause to menopause,” explains Foody. Having diabetes puts you at a higher risk for heart disease and stroke.