Heart Attack in Women (cont.)

Does using the birth control patch increase my risk for heart disease?

The patch is generally safe for young, healthy women. The patch can pose heart disease risks for some women, especially women older than 35; women with high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol; and women who smoke.

Recent studies show that women who use the patch may be exposed to more estrogen than women who use the birth control pill. Estrogen is the female hormone in birth control pills and the patch that keeps you from getting pregnant. Research is underway to see if the risk for blood clots is higher in patch users. Blood clots can lead to heart attack or stroke. Talk with your doctor if you have questions about the patch.

If you're using the patch, watch for signs of trouble, including:

  • Eye problems such as blurred or double vision
  • Pain in the upper body or arm
  • Bad headaches
  • Problems breathing
  • Spitting up blood
  • Swelling or pain in the leg
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Breast lumps
  • Unusual (not normal) heavy bleeding from your vagina

If you have any of these symptoms, call 911.

Does menopausal hormone therapy (HT, HRT, ET) increase a woman's risk for heart disease?

Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) can help with some symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, and bone loss, but there are risks, too. For some women, taking hormones can increase their chances of having a heart attack or stroke. If you decide to use hormones, use them at the lowest dose that helps for the shortest time needed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions about MHT.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/4/2014

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Heart Attacks in Women - Prevention Question: As a woman, how do you prevent heart disease or a heart attack?
Heart Attacks in Women - Blood Pressure Question: If you've been diagnosed with hypertension, how have you lowered your blood pressure?
Heart Attacks in Women - Cholesterol and Triglycerides Question: How often do you get your levels for cholesterol and triglycerides checked? Please share your experience.
Heart Attacks in Women - Signs and Symptoms Question: If you've had a heart attack, what were your signs and symptoms?
Heart Attacks in Women - Heredity Question: Does heart disease run in your family? In what ways are you trying to minimize the risk?

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