Menopause and heart disease

A woman walks up the stairs.

Before the menopause, women in general have a lower risk of being affected by coronary heart disease. But after the menopause, your risk of getting CHD rises – and it continues to rise as you get older.

If you’re going through the menopause and suffer from unpleasant symptoms, you may be prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help relieve these symptoms.

Will HRT help reduce my risk of heart disease?

In the past it was thought that HRT had the added benefit of helping to protect women against heart disease. However, more recent research suggests that this is not the case.

Some types of HRT may even slightly increase the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, and can also increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), particularly in the first year of taking HRT.

HRT can be very effective for relieving menopausal symptoms, and for most menopausal women – especially those under the age of 60 – the benefits of taking HRT outweigh the risks.

However, each woman’s situation is different and HRT may not be suitable for everyone, so please speak to your GP about whether HRT is appropriate for you.

I'm menopausal and I can feel my heart beating really strongly, is this serious?

Some women who are going through the menopause may be more aware of their heart beating (palpitations). If you experience this, see your GP. For the vast majority of women the palpitations are harmless and don’t mean anything is wrong with the heart, but your GP may wish to give you a check-up to be sure.

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