“Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer of women, with over 2 million premature deaths every year. This represents one-third of all deaths, and CVD kills…”.1

Umbrella
What may the Menopause and Cardiovascular Disease Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Cardiovascular Conditions
  • Cardiovascular Disease/s (CVD/CVDs)
  • Cardiovascular Disorders
  • Diseases/Disorders of the Heart and Blood Vessels
  • Diseases/Disorders of the Heart and Circulatory System
  • Heart Disease/s
  • Heart and Circulatory Disease
  • Stroke

Cardiovascular Disease

What is cardiovascular disease (CVD)?

DotS the definition of CVD may vary. In Cardiovascular Heart Disease the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) definition is:

“Cardiovascular disease (CVD), also called heart and circulatory disease, is an umbrella name for conditions that affect your heart or circulation. These include high blood pressure, stroke and vascular dementia”.2

Cardiovascular Diseases

What are cardiovascular diseases (CVDs)?

DotS the definition of CVDs may vary. In Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs): What Are Cardiovascular Diseases? the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition is:

“Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels and they include:

  • Coronary heart disease – disease of the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle
  • Cerebrovascular disease – disease of the blood vessels supplying the brain
  • Peripheral arterial disease – disease of blood vessels supplying the arms and legs
  • Rheumatic heart disease – damage to the heart muscle and heart valves from rheumatic fever, caused by
  • Streptococcal bacteria
  • Congenital heart disease – malformations of heart structure existing at birth
  • Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism – blood clots in the leg veins, which can dislodge and move to the heart and lungs”.3

Before Menopause

Before menopause do women have a lower risk of CVD than men?

The World Heart Federation (WHF) explain:

Cardiovascular DiseaseCardiovascular Disease“Gender: Your gender is significant: as a man you are at greater risk of heart disease than a pre-menopausal woman. But once past the menopause, a woman’s risk is similar to a man’s. Risk of stroke is similar for men and women”.4

The (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) also note:

“Before menopause, women have a lower risk of heart disease than men, but as women age and their oestrogen levels fall after menopause, their risk of cardiovascular disease increases”.5

After Menopause

After menopause can women have an increased risk of CVD?

In Health After Menopause: Cardiovascular Disease the JH elaborate on:

“Blood pressure can increase after menopuase, as can total cholesterol and LDL, or ‘bad cholesterol’. There can also be a decrease in HDL, or ‘good cholesterol’. Other blood fats such as triglycerides can also increase”.6

The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) explain:

“Although many women think of heart disease as a man’s disease, the number one killer of women in North America is cardiovascular disease, that is, diseases of the heart and circulatory system. After age 55, more than half of all the deaths in women are caused by cardiovascular disease. Risk for this disease increases after menopause. Be sure to talk to your healthcare team about what your risks are and how you can reduce them”.7

Breast Cancer

Is CVD a bigger killer of women than breast cancer?

In Resources for Women the WHF note:

“Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer of women, with over 2 million premature deaths every year. This represents one-third of all deaths, and CVD kills more women than cancer, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria combined”.8

Risk Factors

What are risk factors for CVD?

In Cardiovascular Heart Disease: What Increases My Risk of Cardiovascular Heart Disease? the BHF elaborate on:

“A risk factor is something that increases the chance of getting a condition. The more you have, the higher your chance of CVD. Even if you can’t change all your risk factors, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk.

There are several risk factors for CVD, including:

  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Alcohol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Blood Cholesterol
  • Being Physically Inactive
  • Being Overweight or Obese
  • Diabetes
  • Family History of Heart Disease
  • Ethnic Background
  • Sex – men are more likely to get CVD earlier than women
  • Age – the older you are, the more likely you are to get CVD”.9

PreventionCardiovascular Disease

Is CVD preventable?

In Women and CVD – Facts and Tips: How To Protect Your Heart – Protect Your Heart the WHF explain and elaborate on:

“Most of the major cardiovascular disease risks factors can be controlled. Here are a few tips on how to control those risks and protect your heart:

  • Get active…
  • Stop smoking and protect yourself from tobacco…
  • Maintain a healthy weight…
  • Know your numbers…
  • Eat healthily…
  • Know the warning signs
  • Carefully take your medication
  • Keep track of your achievements and progress…”.10

In Health After Menopause: Cardiovascular Disease the JH note:

“It is very important to try and to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially at this time of your life, with a healthy lifestyle that includes:

  • A healthy and nutritious diet
  • Regular exercise for fitness
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Not smoking
  • Minimising alcohol”.11

In Health After Menopause: Cardiovascular Disease the JH also note:

“Lifestyle changes might not be enough for some women with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, so medication for high blood pressure and/or cholesterol may be required”.12

Physical Activity

Is there an association between physical activity and CVD?

In Risk Factors: Cardiovascular Risk Factors – Modifiable Risk Factors: Physical Inactivity and Cardiovascular Disease the WHF note:

“Physical activity protects you by regulating your weight and improving your body’s use of insulin. Being active is beneficial for your blood pressure, blood lipid levels, blood glucose levels, blood clotting factors, the health of your blood vessels and inflammation, which is powerful promoter of cardiovascular disease”.13

WISEWOMAN Program

What is the WISEWOMAN program?

Your Country may have a program similar to the (United States) WISEWOMAN Program. In WISEWOMAN Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What Is the WISEWOMAN Program? the (United States) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) elaborate on:

“The WISEWOMAN (Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for WOMen Across the Nation) program helps women understand and reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke and provides services to help promote lasting heart-healthy lifestyles”.14

What services does the WISEWOMAN program fund?

The CDC explain:

“The WISEWOMAN program funds heart disease and stroke risk factor screenings that include blood pressure, diabetes, body mass index (BMI), and cholesterol screenings. Services are provided in local health departments, doctors’ offices, and community health centers”.15

Know Your Numbers

What numbers do women (and men) need to know?

In Know Your Numbers? They Could Just Save Your Life: Start By Knowing Your Numbers Go Red for Women elaborate on:

“Talk to your healthcare provider today to learn about your Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Blood Sugar and BMI (Body Mass Index).

Your heart depends on it”.16

Health Care Provider

What if I think I have CVD or I have a family history of CVD?

If you think you have CVD or you have a family history of CVD, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this. In Prevention of Diseases After Menopause the authors note:

“Screening for CVD at regular intervals after menopause is extremely important. This includes measurement of blood pressure, lipids and perhaps inflammatory markers, BMI, and ascertainment of lifestyle factors such as activity level and smoking status. In addition, a family history of heart disease and stroke is important”.17

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Cardiovascular Disease?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Cardiovascular Disease?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

 Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Cardiovascular Heart Disease. Page Last Reviewed: October 2019. British Heart Foundation https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/conditions/cardiovascular-heart-disease Accessed: 22 December 2020
  2. Cardiovascular Heart Disease. Page Last Reviewed: October 2019. British Heart Foundation https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/conditions/cardiovascular-heart-disease Accessed: 22 December 2020
  3. Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs): What Are Cardiovascular Diseases? 17 May 2017. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cardiovascular-diseases-(cvds) Accessed: 22 December 2020
  4. Risk Factors: Cardiovascular Risk Factors – Other Common Non-Modifiable Risk Factors Include – Gender. 30 May 2017. World Heart Federation https://www.world-heart-federation.org/resources/risk-factors/ Accessed: 22 December 2020
  5. Health After Menopause: Cardiovascular Disease. Last Updated: 22 October 2020 | Last Reviewed: 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/health-after-menopause/ Accessed: 22 December 2020
  6. Health After Menopause: Cardiovascular Disease. Last Updated: 22 October 2020 | Last Reviewed: 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/health-after-menopause/ Accessed: 22 December 2020
  7. Menopause FAQs: Your Health After Menopause – Q. Do I have to start worrying about heart disease? North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-faqs-your-health-after-menopause Accessed: 22 December 2020
  8. Resources for Women. 22 May 2017. World Heart Federation https://www.world-heart-federation.org/resources/resources-for-women/ Accessed: 22 December 2020
  9. Cardiovascular Heart Disease: What Increases My Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases? Page Last Reviewed: October 2019. British Heart Foundation https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/conditions/cardiovascular-heart-disease Accessed: 22 December 2020
  10. What Can I Do To Avoid A Heart Attack or A Stroke? Q: What Can I Do To Avoid A Heart Attack or A Stroke? Updated September 2015. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/features/qa/27/en/ Accessed: 22 December 2020
  11. Health After Menopause: Cardiovascular Disease. Last Updated: 22 October 2020 | Last Reviewed: 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/health-after-menopause/ Accessed: 22 December 2020
  12. Health After Menopause: Cardiovascular Disease. Last Updated: 22 October 2020 | Last Reviewed: 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/health-after-menopause/ Accessed: 22 December 2020
  13. Risk Factors: Cardiovascular Risk Factors – Modifiable Risk Factors: Physical Inactivity and Cardiovascular Disease. 30 May 2017. World Heart Federation https://www.world-heart-federation.org/resources/risk-factors/ Accessed: 22 December 2020
  14. WISEWOMAN Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What Is the WISEWOMAN Program? Page Last Reviewed: 02 October 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/wisewoman/faqs.htm Accessed: 22 December 2020
  15. WISEWOMAN Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What Services Does the WISEWOMAN Program Fund? Page Last Reviewed: 02 October 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/wisewoman/faqs.htm Accessed: 22 December 2020
  16. Know Your Numbers? They Could Just Save Your Life: Start By Knowing Your Numbers. Go Red for Women https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/know-your-risk/know-your-numbers Accessed: 22 December 2020
  17. Lobo, R. A., Davis, S. R., De Villiers, T. J., Gompel, A., Henderson, V. W., Hodis, H. N., Lumsden, M. A., Mack, W. J., Shapiro, S. and Baber, R. J. Prevention of Diseases After Menopause: Cardiovascular Diseases. 2014:7 https://www.imsociety.org/downloads/world_menopause_day_2014/white_paper/wmd_white_paper_english.pdf Accessed: 22 December 2020

Topic Last Updated: 27 January 2021 – Topic Last Reviewed: 22 December 2020
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