Heart Disease and Estrogen

Updated: Mar 30

By Dr. Shreya Batra, ND

Are females more susceptible to heart disease?

Yes! There is a high chance females may diagnose with both Estrogen and Heart Disease!

But first, let’s start with the basics:

“Did you know that according to the heart and stroke foundation, every Canadian woman has at least one risk factor to heart disease and stroke?”

This means women are more at risk, especially if you experience:

  1. Diabetes

  2. Menopausal

  3. or are from specific ethnic backgrounds.

Statistics Canada have shown that heart disease is the #1 killer for women above the age of 55. Women are generally more likely to die from a heart related event or disease.

Furthermore, you can prevent heart disease through lifestyle, diet, and appropriate supplementation. But why is it one of the most common causes of death? And why are females more susceptible to the disease?

As women reach the age of menopause, estrogen levels begin to decline in the body. As an important steroid hormone, Estrogen has many roles. The reproductive system is the most obvious role estrogen is being put to use. Although the role of estrogen in heart health is quite vast and has a large impact. At a more optimal level, estrogen can support the cardiovascular system by:

  1. Increases HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol)

  2. Decreases LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol)

  3. Relaxes blood vessel walls, to increase blood flow to the body and tissues.

  4. Helps clean out free radicals (bad particles in the blood), prevents any damage in the arteries and blood vessel walls.

  5. Prevents clot formation

So, the development of heart disease promotes the decline in estrogen levels. Of course, that doesn’t mean that after menopause heart disease is inevitable. But being aware of heart disease can help you with better health and encourage you to set appropriate goals. In certain cases, your family doctor may recommend hormone replacement therapy. There are other supportive herbs and supplementation to consider. This can help you through the transition of menopause and hormonal changes. The strongest support is to find modifiable factors, here is a list below:

Modifiable factors:

  1. Exercise: women who don’t exercise are twice at risk of developing heart disease. It is important to aim for 30-60 minutes of aerobic exercise 4-6x/week (least).

  2. Diet: eating an appropriate diet rich in health fats, fiber and protein. It is important to combine veggies, protein and foods with anti-oxidant properties. Fried foods, processed, or preserved foods promote heart disease. Diabetes, being overweight, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are all factors of heart disease. But with a proper diet, you can help reduce the risk.

  3. Smoking and alcohol: Both factors promote the development of plaques. Stopping smoking and moderating alcohol is very important to reduce heart disease.

Unmodifiable factors:

  1. Family history: a family history of heart disease is more susceptibility. Yet, it is important to note, that there are still a few preventative measures which can be in place to reduce risk.

  2. Social and economical factors: studies show that lower levels of education and lower income increases risk of heart disease. This is likely due to the fact that they may be experiencing barriers or do not have the appropriate support to help prevent illness.

  3. Race: risk of heart disease is higher in African American and South Asian background. But the risk remains high for women, in general.

What’s Next?

Book an appointment with me to discuss an individual treatment plan if you would like to:

  1. Manage heart disease

  2. Control your hormone imbalance

  3. or prevent the progression of heart disease

References

  1. https://www.heartandstroke.ca/heart/risk-and-prevention/womens-unique-risk-factors

  2. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/chronic-diseases/cardiovascular-disease/women-risk-heart-disease.html

  3. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.ccnm.idm.oclc.org/pmc/articles/PMC4490077/

  4. https://www-sciencedirect-com.ccnm.idm.oclc.org/science/article/pii/S0022480403002154?via%3Dihub

  5. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.ccnm.idm.oclc.org/pmc/articles/PMC5709037/

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