Menopause and Your Heart

What You Should Know

Heart Disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S. Although menopause does not cause heart disease, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), there are particular risk factors that increase around the time of menopause.

How old you are when you reach menopause matters – along with the cause and timing. Women who experience premature, early onset or surgical menopause before the age of natural menopause are at significantly higher risk of heart disease. Stressors like hot flashes, night sweats, depression and sleep disturbances have all been linked to increased risk factors for cardiovascular disease.


Due to a wide range of factors, including (but not limited to) genetics, lifestyle and socioeconomic status, being a woman of color in the U.S. also correlates with increased risk or severity of heart diseases.


Check out these statistics from the AHA:


       Cardiovascular diseases kill approximately 50,000 Black women in the U.S. each year. Of these women aged 20 years and older, almost half have heart diseases.


       On average, Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than non-Hispanics.


       Only 1 in 3 Hispanic women are aware that heart disease is among their primary killers.


       Asian immigrants in the United States are a widely diverse group with heart health risk factors that vary depending on where they are from.


       South Asian Americans face disproportionately higher risks of cardiovascular disease.


In addition to these factors, the decline in estrogen levels as we go through menopause transition can make us more susceptible to a build-up of cholesterol in our arteries, which is the key contributor to coronary heart disease. As cited on the AHA website,


Levels of estrogen, which help keep blood vessels relaxed and open, start to decline markedly as menopause approaches. With less estrogen, cholesterol may begin to build up on artery walls. A buildup in vessels leading to the heart or brain can increase the risk of heart disease or stroke.’


It’s important to know that poor lifestyle habits, like a diet high in fat, lack of physical exercise, excessive drinking, and smoking, can compound over the years, making you more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease. By incorporating healthy modifications to your lifestyle and making a plan with your health provider, you can be proactive about maintaining your heart health as you transition into menopause…and in the years beyond.


For more insights and tips on maintaining a healthy heart as we age, visit