Aging, Not Menopause, Raises Women's Heart Risks, Study Finds

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HealthDay News

 

Hormonal changes not linked to fatal heart attacks in older women, researchers say.

TUESDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- There's no link between menopause and increased risk of death from heart disease, says a study that challenges a long-held medical belief that the rate of cardiovascular death in women spikes after menopause.

Aging alone, not the hormonal impact of menopause, explains the increasing number of deaths among older women, according to the Johns Hopkins researchers.

The new findings could affect how heart health is assessed in premenopausal women, who were previously believed to have a low risk of death from heart attack, the authors pointed out in the study published in the Sept. 6 issue of the BMJ.

"Our data show there is no big shift toward higher fatal heart attack rates after menopause," study leader Dhananjay Vaidya, an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a Hopkins news release.

"What we believe is going on is that the cells of the heart and arteries are aging like every other tissue in the body, and that is why we see more and more heart attacks every year as women age. Aging itself is an adequate explanation and the arrival of menopause with its altered hormonal impact does not seem to play a role," Vaidya added.

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