2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 03:30
Heart disease is mistakenly seen as a man's disease. Did you know that they are actually one of the leading causes of death for women in Canada?
It is wrong to believe that women are less at risk than men of developing heart disease. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, most Canadian women have at least one risk factor associated with heart disease and these risks increase when the woman has diabetes, from a higher-risk ethnic group or if she has entered menopause. Women therefore have every interest in becoming adequately informed about their personal risk factors in order to react quickly in the event of a crisis.
General risk factors related to cardiovascular diseases
- Activity level sedentary
- Bad cholesterol level
Risk Factors Unique to Women
Women are naturally partially protected from cardiovascular diseases throughout their reproductive cycle, that is to say betweenages of about 12 and 50. Why? This is because of estrogen, that all-female hormone secreted by the ovaries and responsible for the formation, maintenance and functioning of female genitals and breasts. This is good news, but you should know that several factors can influence the protective effect of estrogen and thus make us more vulnerable to heart disease:
- Oral contraceptives: The birth control pill may increase blood pressure and the risk of blood clots in a small percentage of women. If in addition you smoke, you already have hypertension, you are over 35, these risks unfortunately increase.
- Pregnancy: It's not pregnancy as such that puts you at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, but certain conditions that can appear during pregnancy such as pre-eclampsia , which causes high blood pressure or pregnancy diabetes.
Are you pregnant and have you ever been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease? Like any other pre-existing condition, heart disease can complicate your pregnancy. For tips to help you have a safe and he althy pregnancy, visit The Hospital for Sick Children and Heart Disease and Pregnancyto receive information tailored to your situation.
Around the age of 50, women stop having a menstrual cycle and the production of hormones (estrogen and progesterone) is significantly reduced. This is called menopause. Due to the reduction of these hormones that previously offered us a protective effect, we become more at risk of developing cardiovascular disease for various reasons:
- Our overall cholesterol, bad cholesterol (LDL), and triglyceride levels increase;
- Our good cholesterol (HDL) levels decrease;
- Our blood pressure is rising;
- Fatty tissue in the center of the body (especially in the stomach) increases, which can create a myriad of problems for our body including blood glucose problems, blood clots, heavy sweating, sleep disorders and more.