How does menopause affect cardiac function?

Updated: Sep 13, 2021
  • Author: Nicole K Banks, MD; Chief Editor: Richard Scott Lucidi, MD, FACOG  more...
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At menopause, women begin to lose their natural resistance to heart disease (see Coronary Artery Disease and Coronary Artery Atherosclerosis). By the age of 65 years, their risk of having a heart attack equals that of men. [5] This increased susceptibility to heart disease is attributed to the reduction in the beneficial effects of estrogen on plasma lipid and lipoprotein levels, insulin sensitivity, the distribution of body fat, coagulation, fibrinolysis, and endothelial function.

Serum fibrinogen and plasma activator inhibitor (PA1) concentrations are powerful predictors of cardiac disease in men and women. [6] Evidence suggests that menopause is associated with heightened serum levels of fibrinogen and PA1.

All of the factors just discussed contribute to the increased risk for morbidity and mortality in postmenopausal women.

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