Many of us still believe heart disease is more a problem for men than women: that just isn’t true.

Heart disease is the leading killer of women in the United States.

According to Go Red For Women, “Cardiovascular diseases and stroke cause 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.”

Heart disease risk after menopause

Ten years or so past menopause, a woman’s risk of heart disease equals a man’s. As estrogen declines, it takes a great many protections with it, including keeping blood vessels within artery walls flexible so blood can flow freely. And, post-menopause, cholesterol levels can change: good (HDL) cholesterol may decline, while the bad stuff (LDL) starts to rise.

Not enough HDL or too much LDL can allow plaque to build up in arteries, restricting blood flow.

To better your chances of avoiding or surviving heart disease, it’s a really REALLY good idea to know your numbers and your risk.

Cholesterol: screen at home?

Several screen-at-home tests for cholesterol have hit the market in recent years; what do you need to know about DIY cholesterol testing?

Check out this article in PRiME Women for more information on at-home cholesterol screenings and other facts to protect your heart health.

While you’re at it, be sure you know the symptoms of heart attack in women (which can look very different from men’s), and when what you’re experiencing is more likely to be menopause-related, non-life-threatening heart palpitations.

The information in this article is never intended to replace advice from a medical professional. If you feel you may be experiencing heart problems, get help right away. 

Do you have experience with heart disease? How are you managing it? We’d love to hear how you’re protecting your heart, whether you’re high-risk or low. Please share in the comments below, on genneve’s Facebook page, or in Midlife & Menopause Solutions, our closed Facebook group.

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Shannon Perry

Shannon is a celebrated author and global educator. Whether she’s interviewing a physician or producing a podcast, her appetite for research, facts, and truth culminates in credible health education and programming that women can rely on. An avid runner, cyclist, and climber, Shannon knows a thing or two about thriving in midlife and lives in Seattle with her cat, dog and boyfriend.

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