menopause and cardiovascular (CV) disease risk

Last reviewed 10/2020

Menopause and cardiovascular risk

  • CHD is unusual in women before the menopause; the corollary is that the postmenopausal state increases risk significantly. By the time a woman reaches the age of 60, the gap in incidence of CHD between men and women is greatly reduced

    • risk is thought to be due to the withdrawal of the protective effect of oestrogen around the time of the menopause, although this explanation is not universally accepted

    • around menopause, a clustering of obesity, hypertension and dyslipidemia is often seen. Similarly polycystic ovary syndrome is also linked with cardiovascular risk factors and more adverse CHD events post-menopause

    • increased CHD risk has also been observed in pre-menopausal women with irregular or disrupted menstrual cycles and in those with oestrogen deficiency or hypothalamic dysfunction

    • replacement of oestrogen after the menopause has not been shown to be effective in preventing cardiovascular events and HRT is not recommended for cardiac protection in females with CHD after the HERS trial showed no evidence of benefit


  • 1) BHF Factfile (November 2010). Women and coronary heart disease.