Until a few years ago, Jill was in denial about her age, the menopause and what that meant for her future health. She had worked for 30 years as a fitness instructor and sports massage therapist; she was incredibly fit and had never given her heart health a moment’s thought. This abruptly changed in 2021 when Jill had sudden and severe pains in her chest and after some doubt and misdiagnoses by the medical team in A and E, she was found to have had at least one significant heart attack, possibly more. Since then, Jill has had ongoing intermittent chest pain, especially when having hot flushes, and she realised her continued cardiac symptoms were potentially linked to her changing hormones.
Dr Louise Newson explains the link with estrogen deficiency and cardiac symptoms, and the increased risk of heart attacks after menopause. Together they discuss gender bias in heart research, the difficulties diagnosing heart attacks in women, the possible reasons for poorer outcomes compared to men and the cardiovascular benefits of HRT.
Jill’s 3 tips to women if worried about your heart:
- Listen to your body, you know it best
- Do your own research, such as balance-menopause.com, Blood Pressure UK, British Heart Foundation websites
- Have someone with you at appointments, or over the phone if not in person
- If you know there’s something wrong with your heart, ask for a troponin blood test
You can read Jill’s story here