A Lesser Talked About Heart Health Risk in Females

Females have an increased risk of heart attack and stroke after menopause.


It is suspected that certain estrogen’s are anti-inflammatory and protect the heart. When they decline after menopause there is an increase in cardiovascular disease.

What is also important to know is that the symptoms of heart attacks are different in females. They can be less pronounced and may include.

  • Tightness in the chest

  • Anxiety, lightheadedness

  • Diarrhea and sudden gut disturbances

This can be in addition or in the absence of the classic symptoms of a heart attack:

  • Radiating pain to the L jaw and down the arm

  • Crushing chest pain

  • Cold and clammy

We can also be in a situation where our routine cholesterol testing comes back as elevated. The standard at this time is to get it down with statins. These work by decreasing cholesterol production in the liver. The drawback is that cholesterol is an important building block in our brain, and for our hormones. Some of us will also experience muscle pain from statins. Because of this, I like to evaluate to determine if your cholesterol is a dangerous form like small dense LDL, remnant lipoprotein or Lipoprotein a. If these markers are elevated we need an aggressive nutritional intervention to get them down.

A new and evolving cholesterol-lowering herb that I am excited about is bergamot as a standardized extract in the herbal form. You likely have heard of this if you are into essential oils or Earl Gray Tea. This remedy may work on a pathway called the AMPK system. This is a central pathway in metabolism and commonly out of balance - a proper AMPK system is important for energy regulation, weight, diabetes and even cancer prevention!

It's a bit scary to think of this, but taking a proactive approach is empowering! You can take a look into your blood monitor for the development of heart disease years before it develops.