Women, heart disease and the menopausal journey This is important so that you can advocate for yourself or your BFF should the worst happen

First things first, I am absolutely not trying to terrify you with this, but it is important so that you can advocate for yourself or your BFF should the worst happen. 

Heart health is something we often associate with age, particularly as we move into our senior years, and normally old men. However, many may be surprised to know that menopause can increase our risk when it comes to coronary heart disease (CHD). For many midlife women, the menopausal journey brings about various changes, not just hormonally but also in terms of heart health. Let’s delve deeper into why CHD is a looming threat for menopausal women and how to tackle it. 

The theme of this year’s World Menopause Day is cardiovascular health.

The Significance of Heart Disease in Midlife Women

The heart of the matter is this: cardiovascular diseases, including CHD, are the primary cause of death for women in the UK. Data from the British Heart Foundation reveals that over 28,000 women die from CHD annually in the UK (BHF, 2021).  This is 77 women a day.   A significant proportion of these deaths occur in women aged 50-64, highlighting the impact of menopause on heart health.  But despite these sobering statistics, many women are unaware of the risk factors for heart disease or actively have lifestyle and nutrition interventions in place to combat their increased susceptibility to heart disease.


During menopause, the protective effects of oestrogen, a hormone that aids in maintaining the flexibility of the arterial walls begins to wane (Matthews et al., 2009).   Oestrogen has many different uses in the body, including being anti-inflammatory.  This drop in oestrogen levels is associated with increased heart disease risk factors, including higher levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and increased blood pressure (Murphy and Kelly, 2011).  It should be noted that many of our traditional Western medical approach doesn’t follow the path to the root cause or seek to understand what else is going on to cause inflammation in the body.

Why Heart Disease Often Goes Unnoticed in Women

One of the significant challenges is that heart disease in women often presents differently than in men (American Heart Association, 2019). While men may experience the classic, movie-portrayed chest clutching, women’s symptoms can be more subtle. These might include:

Because these symptoms can be attributed to various other conditions, they often go unnoticed or are dismissed as “just a part of ageing”.   

There are also some biological differences in the hearts of men and women (Kowalczyk, 2022):

Furthermore, societal norms and biases can mean that women’s complaints aren’t always taken as seriously as they should be. This means diagnosis can be delayed, leading to advanced stages of the disease before intervention.  Women are traditionally juggling running and organising a home alongside a career, so often put their own care needs at the bottom of the never-ending jobs list.

Symptoms that you never ever ignore as a midlife women


Lifestyle Tips for Heart-Healthy Menopause

Taking care of your heart during menopause isn’t just about recognising the risks. It’s about adopting a proactive approach. Here are some steps to help maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle:


In summary – just in case you’re having a meno moment

The journey through menopause is a significant phase in every woman’s life, marking a time of transition and growth. As we embrace this change, it’s essential to understand the potential risks associated with it, especially those concerning heart health.

While menopause does usher in increased risks of CHD, knowledge, awareness, and a proactive approach to a healthy lifestyle can make all the difference. Remember, taking care of your heart is not just about adding years to your life but life to your years.

A bit about me & my background

Claire is a  Women’s Health Specialist at Restoring Balance; a Sports Scientist and a Women’s Health Coach who is also a multi-disciplined therapist specialising in person-centred care.  Claire is also a carer, juggling her time between her clinic and looking after her Mum.  

Claire’s work is very different to many therapists – working with you as a whole person using a unique combination of mind, nutrition and movement to overcome both physical and emotional blocks; not just where you feel pain or have dysfunction, allowing you to live life again.  Claire can help you with:

I work both online and in person from my home-based clinic on Hayling Island, Hampshire.

Ready to make a change? Book in for a Let’s Talk.


American Heart Association. (2019). Symptoms of Heart Attack in Women.

British Heart Foundation. (2021). Women and heart disease. [link]

Choe J, Tu S, Lim J, et al. “Heat in their intestine”: colorectal cancer prevention beliefs among older Chinese Americans. Ethnicity & Disease. 2006;16(1):248–254.

Kowalczyk, J. Women’s vs Men’s Hearts, 2022, Share Care.  https://www.sharecare.com/heart-health/heart-disease/womens-heart-vs-mens-hearts

Matthews KA, Crawford SL, Chae CU, et al. (2009).  Are changes in cardiovascular disease risk factors in midlife women due to chronological aging or to the menopausal transition? Journal of the American College of Cardiology ;54(25):2366-2373.

Murphy, E., Kelly, D. (2011) Estrogen Signally and Cardio Vascular Disease.  Circulation Research: 109: 687-696.

NHS. (2021). Physical activity guidelines for adults.

Salmoirago-Blotcher, E., Crawford, S., Jackson, E., Ockene, J., & Ockene, I. (2011). Constipation and risk of cardiovascular disease among postmenopausal women. The American journal of medicine124(8), 714–723. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2011.03.026

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