How does menopause impact heart health? A study answers: Femme Actuelle Le MAG

In France, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death, ahead of cancers. Among the risk periods, the French Federation of Cardiology (FFC) lists pregnancy, postpartum, but also menopause. This period occurs on average between 45 and 55 years of age and corresponds to the cessation of menstruation.

A woman’s cardiovascular risk can increase sharply after menopause, quickly catching up with that of men of a similar age and health profile, according to researchers at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in California. Their results have not yet been published in a scientific journal, but are presented during the annual scientific session of the American College of Cardiology.

Heart health: the accumulation of deposits in the arteries is accelerated in postmenopausal women

To arrive at these results, researchers analyzed health data from 579 postmenopausal women who did not suffer from heart disease at the start of the study. A control group composed of men, presenting the same characteristics in terms of cardiovascular risk, was also recruited.

The participants were taking statins to control their cholesterol levels and had two scans called “heart scans” spaced at least a year apart. This exam allows you to visualize the coronary arteries and note if there is any narrowing. The latter is often linked to deposits on the arteriescalled atherosclerotic plaques.

As part of this research, specialists were interested in the calcification of the coronary arteries (CAC). “THE calcium attacks the arterial wall. The more calcium crystals there are, the more they promote the progression of plaque. This is called coronary calcification.details the High Authority of Health.“A score Higher CAC noted a risk higher than heart attack Or other cardiac events, specify the researchers. Among the risk factors, we note cholesterol.

Based on their results from their first heart scan, the test measuring calcium in the coronary arteries (CAC), the researchers classified them into three groups. Those with a score between 1 to 99 were in the first group, those with a score ranging from 100 to 399 were in the second group. The third group included those who had a score greater than or equal to 400. Then, they compared these results with those of the second heart scan. The researchers conducted the same analyzes in men.

The drop in estrogen could explain the increased heart risk in postmenopausal women

The authors note that in women, plaque buildup in the coronary arteries is accelerated in postmenopausal women compared to men. More precisely, the women of the first group “saw their CAC increase by a median of eight points, double the median of four observed among their male counterparts”, note the experts. In the second group, the women again had results twice as high as men. In the third group, the results were similar.

But how can we explain this greater accumulation among women? The researchers believe that this may be linked to the decrease in estrogen. Indeed, according to Dr. Ella Ishaaya of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, who speaks in the press release, “it affects how your body stores fat, where it stores fat and how it processes fat; it even affects the way your blood clots. And all of these changes increase your risk of developing heart disease.”

Also, the researchers note that this accumulation was present while the women were taking statins to control cholesterol. The researchers call for future research to study the effectiveness of statins or other therapies in reducing calcification in the coronary arteries of postmenopausal women. Furthermore, they emphasize the importance of early screening of women for cardiovascular health from menopause.

Source :

  • Heart Health Declines Rapidly After Menopause – Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology.
  • French Federation of Cardiology (FFC)
  • High Authority of Health – Coronary calcification at the heart of prevention 2019

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