Menopause is a condition that occurs naturally among women in their 40s and 50s. Women may have questions as they go through this stage in life.

Most of these questions regard the effect on their health moving forward. One of the more notable discussions that come up is the link between menopause and heart health.

Does this condition affect cardiovascular function?

What Happens During Menopause?

The body undergoes various hormonal changes during the different menopausal phases. One of these changes is the gradual decrease in estrogen.

This creates a domino effect of other hormonal effects, among which include a drop in high-density lipoproteins or HDL (good) cholesterol and a rise in low-density lipoproteins or LDL (bad) cholesterol.

According to a report published in the AHA Journal, this can affect the body’s ability to shuttle out excess cholesterol.

The cholesterol eventually builds up in the arteries and become plaque. If untreated, this can lead to an eventual heart attack or stroke.

Weight Gain

Hormonal changes during menopause could also lead to weight gain. Women during this stage tend to gain belly fat around the midsection.

The accumulation of body fat in the abdomen places additional stress on the liver and increases cardiovascular disease, even if you’re at normal body weight, according to a 2021 study.


The hormonal shift during the perimenopause phase may make women more vulnerable to depression. Falling estrogen and progesterone levels can trigger wild mood swings and an inability to cope with life situations.

A report from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs stated that older women in their midlife phase had a 60% greater chance of developing heart disease if they were diagnosed with depression.

That’s not all: the risk factor increased by an additional 40% for each additional mental health condition, such as anxiety.


Insomnia was reported in 26% of women in their perimenopause and menopause stages.

Other symptoms of menopause include profuse sweating and hot flashes, which can lead to disrupted sleep and frequent waking in the middle of the night.

How is this related to heart problems? A 2016 study revealed that 44% of heart disease patients also reported some degree of insomnia.

How to Reduce Heart Disease Risk During Menopause

It’s important to keep in mind that the risk of heart disease also increases with age in the general population.

It’s an issue that occurs naturally as one gets older. With this in mind, it’s important to develop healthier daily habits to reduce coronary disease risk.


Aim for 2.5 hours of exercise each week. By exercise, this can be a number of activities to get your heart rate up. This includes running, yoga, swimming, brisk walking, and playing sports.

You can break up the exercise intervals to fit your schedule, such as 30 minutes five days a week or 20 to 25 minutes every day. Find a routine that’s suitable enough for you to stick with long-term.


Eat a balanced diet that includes leafy greens and colorful vegetables every meal. If you eat snacks in between meals, aim for whole fruits.

One study shows that heart disease drops by 6% to 7% for every 80 grams of fruit consumed. Also, try to cut out refined sugar as much as possible. Sugar elevates the risk of type 2 diabetes, which in turn increases heart disease risk.

Read also: Understanding the Link Between Breast Cancer and Heart Disease

Menopause is a fact of life for women. While the hormonal changes that accompany menopause are normal, you can reduce the negative effects by making healthy lifestyle factors a daily affair.

In addition, look for the best cardiologist near you and schedule an appointment to assess your heart health. At CT Cardio, we perform regular heart health assessments on women and men of all ages and demographics in the Acadiana area. Contact us today to book your appointment!

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Thomas