Heart & Vascular Program

Heart Health

Diseases & Conditions: Women & Heart Disease

In recent years, the prevalence of heart disease among women has dramatically increased. Today it is the number one cause of death and sickness in Canadian women. The cardiac risk factors for both men and women are the same, but women are more commonly affected with heart disease at a later age than men.

Women are at an increased risk of heart disease after menopause. Pre-menopausal women are protected from heart disease by the hormones estrogen and progestin. Estrogen levels decrease after menopause, resulting in changing cholesterol levels. Decreased estrogen is also associated with weight gain, another risk factor.

Research to determine long-term preventative benefits of hormonal replacement therapy suggests it may not be beneficial to protect women from coronary heart disease. Please consult with your doctor for further information.