Perimenopause and the Heart

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According to the British Heart Foundation, before menopause women in general have a lower risk of coronary heart disease. However, after menopause the risk increases.

Oestrogen can offer some protection against coronary artery disease, reducing the risk of a heart attack and helping control cholesterol.

During perimenopause after the menopause women produce less oestrogen and this increases the risk of the arteries narrowing. This increases your risk of developing coronary heart disease, or a circulatory condition such as stroke.

Does HRT impact your risk of heart disease?

Recent evidence shows that menopausal women taking HRT have no higher risk of dying from a heart attack than women who don’t take HRT.

Menopause and heart palpitations

Some women going through the perimenopause may be more aware of their heart beating, or might feel as though their heart is racing. These are called palpitations. If you experience them, see your GP. For most 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.

Early menopause and heart disease risk

According to Dr Louise Newsom, ‘early menopause is before the age of 40. It puts them at particularly high risk of premature heart and circulatory disease, as well as osteoporosis.

Treatment for early menopause is particularly important. People in this category should take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or the combined contraceptive pill to reduce their risk of heart and circulatory disease and osteoporosis until they are at least 51 years old.’

Help and information

  • Call the Britsh Heart Foundation Heart Helpline on 0300 330 3311. Lines are open Monday-Friday 9am to 5pm.