Menopause is associated with changes consistent with cardiovascular aging. The effects of cardiac disease are multifaceted, affecting endothelial function, coronary artery physiology and metabolic dysfunction leading to structural changes in the coronary anatomy. A systematic review of literature from 1986 to 2019 was conducted using PubMed and Google Scholar. The search was directed to retrieve papers that addressed the changes in cardiovascular physiology in menopause and the current therapies available to treat cardiovascular manifestations of menopause. The metabolic and clinical factors secondary to menopause, such as dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, fat redistribution and systemic hypertension, contribute to the accelerated risk for cardiovascular aging and disease. Atherosclerosis appears to be the end result of the interaction between cardiovascular risk factors and their accentuation during the perimenopausal period. Additionally, complex interactions between oxidative stress and levels of L-arginine and ADMA may also influence endothelial dysfunction in menopause. The increased cardiovascular risk in menopause stems from the exaggerated effects of changing physiology on the cardiovascular system affecting peripheral, cardiac and cerebrovascular beds. The differential effects of menopause on cardiovascular disease at the subclinical, biochemical and molecular levels form the highlights of this review.
Keywords: Dyslipidemia; cardiovascular aging.; endothelial dysfunction; menopause; metabolic syndrome; oxidative stress.
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