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Middle-Age Female Heart (Breaking) Facts.

Recently, sadly I have known two lovely women in my community who passed away suddenly, at night from a massive heart attack. Both ladies in mid-to-later age, on different life journeys with most likely, an undetected major risk of cardiovascular heart disease (CVD). Did you know, according the US Data, cardiac death is the leading killer of women in all age groups?! Unbelievably, most women who die of an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) have no symptoms prior to the event. Scary!


Weirdly, the myth that women are at lower risk of dying from heart disease compared to cancer still persists. Cardiovascular disease in women gets way less attention than other conditions.


Young women who smoke or suffer from estrogen deficiency are at greater risk as are women in menopause. Why?

In the USA, 90% of middle-age plus women have at least 1 major coronary risk factor.

Within 7 to 10 years post menopause, women experience a rapidly presenting cluster of risk factors such as hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, inactivity etc when compared to men. Women quickly catch up and actually surpass men in risk for CVD.


Estrogen is protective to arteries and protects women from cardiovascular artery disease (CAD) before menopause. Estrogen is also important for regulating lipids, inflammation and coagulation, and involved in vasodilation. After menopause the composition of plaque changes to be more vulnerable and there are increases in inflammatory markers, fat mass, lipids, glucose and hypertension. Disproportionate CV risks in women compared to men include diabetes, obesity, increased CV mortality in first MI, increase risk of heart failure & more coronary microvascular dysfunction, hypercoagulability and metabolic syndrome.


How many of us complain about middle-age 'belly fat'? in menopause our body fat composition changes to a more centralised android pattern (from pear to apple) increasing the risk of metabolic syndrome.


Estrogen also acts on the liver to cause an overall reduction in the total amount of cholesterol and promotes increased HDL and decreased LDL. Guess what happens at menopause?


Autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus affects more women and the associated inflammation is also an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis & microvascular dysfunction.


What symptoms are most commonly experienced for women in a cardiac event?


Women more often present with atypical angina. Atypical angina includes not only pain or discomfort in the chest but also in the arms, jaw, neck, stomach and interscapular area. Women more often will experience fatigue, anxiety, cold sweats, SOB, dyspepsia, and nausea. Sometimes the only symptom in a female is fatigue. That's a worry!

Symptoms may not occur with exertion but can arise after exertion or be triggered by mental stress or even occur at rest. It may be intermittent or over several hours.


If you or a loved one, are worried that you might be at high risk or experience any of the symptoms above then get it checked out asap!



Take Action:

  1. Improve diet, lifestyle and exercise to maintain healthy body fat and blood sugar levels, & reduce stress.

  2. Detection and prevention with routine and specialised screening. If you have a family history then seek further screening.

  3. look at and consider various options increase estrogen levels where appropriate.



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