Hormones and Health

Sex hormones do more than impact your sex life; they affect your heart health, too. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. And while most people know that high blood pressure, excess weight, and high cholesterol levels can put them at risk for heart disease, not many know that the sex hormones – estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone – play a critical role in heart health.

Estrogen:

  • Improves arteries’ flexibility and strengthens their interior walls
  • Reduces inflammation in the heart
  • Helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health report the changing hormone levels that accompany the transition to menopause negatively impact a woman’s cholesterol, “leaving her at greater risk for heart disease.” However, “estrogen treatment resulted in a significantly lower rate of atherosclerosis progression among early postmenopausal women,” according to a 2016 article in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Progesterone:

  • Increases “good,” HDL cholesterol
  • Improves dilation of blood vessels
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces coronary hyperactivity

Testosterone:

  • Increases blood flow
  • Positively impacts cholesterol
  • Decreases inflammation
  • Affects muscle mass

“Lower levels of testosterone…are associated with higher cardiovascular risk in both men and women,” according to an article in a 2015 Current Cardiology Reviews. In addition, a 2013 Journal of Sexual Medicine (JSM) reports, “testosterone deficiency has been associated with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.” Both of these illnesses greatly increase the risk of heart disease.

Testosterone replacement, however, is associated with a decrease in male mortality, reports the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Once again, replenishing low hormone levels helps.

Natural, bioidentical hormones are protective. Restoring levels of sex hormones that naturally decrease with age reduce the incidence of life-threatening heart disease. Don’t be one of the 37 million women at risk for developing heart disease. Maintain a healthy weight, exercise, stop smoking and replenish your sex hormones.