Myth: Heart Disease Doesn’t Affect Women Until After Menopause
Truth: Women of all ages can be at risk for heart disease. While it’s true that symptoms and diagnoses seem more prevalent around the menopausal years when a natural reduction in estrogen and progesterone make the body more susceptible to cholesterol, higher body fat, and blood pressure problems, young women can also experience the condition.
Thankfully there are two opportunities in a woman’s life when she can increase her awareness of her heart disease risk. “The first is at the time of pregnancy,” says Dr. Turek. “Women who develop gestational diabetes or preeclampsia [two conditions that raise their risk for heart disease] can be targeted and perhaps embark on lifestyle changes that will make an impact on heart disease down the road. The second window is at the time of menopause when they’ll see their family doctor because of symptoms and this is a time when another discussion can be made.”