"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Reaching menopause may mean that statins are not any longer enough

April 4, 2024 – Older women who've reached menopause may experience plaque buildup of their arteries more quickly than men of the identical age.

That's the finding of a brand new study that might influence how women manage their levels of cholesterol and the way they're screened for heart problems after reaching menopause. Ultimately, the study suggests that taking a typical cholesterol drug called a statin is probably not enough to guard postmenopausal women from serious heart problems.

The faster plaque formation is probably going related to the decline within the hormone estrogen after menopause, said the study's lead researcher.

“After menopause, women have much less estrogen and tend to have a higher testosterone profile,” said researcher Dr. Ella Ishaaya, an internal medicine physician at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California, said in an announcement. “This affects how your body stores fat, where it stores fat and how it processes fat; it even affects the way your blood clots. And all that [changes] increase your risk of developing heart disease.”

Specifically, the study showed that postmenopausal women taking statins saw scores on a test that measures the chance of heart disease increase twice as quickly as men of the identical age who also took statins. The test, often called coronary artery calcium screening (CAC), detects the buildup of plaque, a mix of fat, calcium and other substances. The men and girls had no heart disease at first of the study and all accomplished the CAC test twice, with a yr between tests.

In a summary of the research for attendees at an American College of Cardiology conference in Atlanta, researchers wrote that they wanted to check the subject because previous research has shown that men typically experience steeper increases of their CAC levels over time, However, it was unclear how the outcomes differed, particularly when women's bodies modified after the reproductive phase of life.

Heart disease is the leading explanation for death amongst women within the United States and has been linked to it in 2021 1 in 5 deaths amongst women.

“Women are under-screened and under-treated, particularly postmenopausal women, who face a flood of new risk factors that many are unaware of. “This study raises awareness of these risk factors and opens the door to highlight the importance of increased coronary artery calcium (CAC) screening,” Ishaaya said.

The Results will likely be presented on the cardiology conference in Atlanta this weekend.