Although men face a higher risk of heart disease, women are just as likely to have heart attacks as their male counterparts of similar age after they reach menopause
. This is due to the drop in Oestrogen, a female hormone which reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol and raises HDL (good) cholesterol. With the decline in Oestrogen, a women's LDL level and blood pressure will increase while HDL cholesterol decreases, putting women at a higher risk of developing CVD.
Women who consume oral contraceptives also face a slightly higher risk of CVD, as their blood lipid levels may be detrimentally affected by the hormones in these pills. If the woman taking oral contraceptives is also a smoker, her risk of CVD is even higher after 35 years old.Pregnant women
also face a greater likelihood of developing palpitations, hypertension and congestive heart failure. This is because a woman's blood volume increases 30% to 50% during pregnancy to nourish the growing baby; as such, the heart has to pump more blood each minute and heart rate increases. Although pregnancy-related palpitations are rarely dangerous, hypertension and congestive heart failure require close monitoring as these conditions are potentially more severe.