When it comes to heart health, hormones play a leading role. The way they’re functioning in the body directly impacts the cardiovascular system, the heart and the blood vessels. What does this mean? When they’re working properly, they can help prevent heart disease; when they’re out of balance, they can cause it.
Just what are the effects of hormones on your heart? Could hormonal imbalance be serious enough for you to lead to cardiovascular problems? Are you at a greater cardiometabolic risk because of hormonal or other issues, and, if so, what can you do about it?
To understand the link between hormones and heart health, look at the hormone-producing gland — the pancreas. Located behind the stomach and beside the small intestine, the pancreas is a large gland that creates insulin, the hormone that allows the body’s cells to receive blood glucose. If something goes wrong with the way the pancreas makes this hormone, perhaps due to insulin resistance, suddenly there’s too much blood glucose being made. Because of a hormonal problem, the body has too much blood glucose, and too much blood glucose can cause type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems — like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease.
High blood glucose is only one of the big risk factors for cardiovascular problems. Other conditions that may be influenced by hormonal imbalance and that increase a person’s cardiometabolic risk include the following:
To offset your risks for heart disease, take steps to change your lifestyle, such as:
The endocrine system is a network of glands and organs that produce, store, and secrete hormones. Hormones influence many aspects of the cardiovascular system, which includes the heart and blood vessels. While hormones play a key role in maintaining cardiovascular health, high levels of some hormones can contribute to cardiovascular disease.
The Hormone Health Network is the public education affiliate of the Endocrine Society dedicated to helping both patients and doctors find information on the prevention, treatment and cure of hormone-related conditions.
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