Studies have shown that women of childbearing years are protected from developing heart disease due to the presence of the hormone estrogen. Estrogen helps to protect women from heart disease by increasing the body’s production of HDL, or “good” cholesterol. Levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol decrease as well. Estrogen also helps to guard against thickening of the blood.
When a woman goes through menopause, estrogen production stops, and this protection from heart disease also ceases. Women who are at or close to menopausal age should discuss their risk of developing heart disease with their doctor to help them determine whether hormone replacement therapy is a reasonable option for them.