What Hormone Protects Women From Heart Disease?
What hormone protects women from heart disease? Estrogen does and it’s only one of estrogen’s many benefits. Produced by the ovaries, adrenal glands, and fatty tissue, estrogen is mainly associated with women’s reproductive cycles and puberty. Most people rarely think about their hormone levels until they have an illness or disease.
Maintaining Healthy Hormone Levels is Necessary for Good Health
Pre-menopausal women have a much lower risk of heart disease than men. It is thought that estrogen is the reason. Studies show that estrogen affects almost every tissue or organ system in the body. Estrogen’s known effects on the cardiovascular system include:
- Increasing HDL cholesterol (the good kind)
- Decreasing LDL cholesterol (the bad kind)
- Promotes blood clot formation, and also causes some changes that have the opposite effect
- Relaxes, smooths and dilates blood vessels so blood flow increases
- Soaks up free radicals, naturally occurring particles in the blood that can damage the arteries and other tissues.
Heart disease is the number one killer among women over age 65. Even though women typically develop heart disease 10 years later than men, by age 65, the risk is equal for both.
While menopause doesn’t cause Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), certain risk factors do increase around the time of menopause. Eating a high-fat diet, smoking, and diabetes also add to the severity of a woman’s heart disease.
Because menopause isn’t a disease but a natural part of aging, it is important for women to take responsibility for their health as they age. Menopause begins in most women around the age of 54 and their risk of heart attack rises significantly just 10 years later. More than one third of female adults has some form of cardiovascular disease.
Estrogen’s Role in Heart Disease
Estrogen’s natural decline is a major factor in heart disease among post-menopausal women. Estrogen maintains the flexibility of the inner layer of artery walls, helping to keep blood pressure low. Lower blood pressure means lower risk of heart attack.
To get the nutrients you need, the American Heart Association recommends eating a diet focused on: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish and nuts, while limiting red meat and sugary foods and drinks.
Women should also try to get in at least 3 hours of physical activity each week to help prevent CVD.
As estrogen levels naturally decrease in postmenopausal women, the risk of heart disease increases. When Estrogen levels are low before a woman enters menopause, their risk of heart disease can increase. If your Estrogen levels are low, whether you are pre or post menopausal, Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement can return those levels to a healthy, heart protective level.
In addition to protecting women from heart disease, estrogen also helps protect against Alzheimer’s, breast cancer and Osteoporosis. If you are worried about your heart health (or your brain, bone or breast health), schedule an appointment with one of our providers to have a simple test and find out what your Estrogen levels are.