Most people think of menopause as a hormonal event. Sure, it can have a lot of effects on a woman's body — hot flashes and mood swings are probably what you think of — but it turns out there's a bigger danger lurking behind the scenes: heart problems.

A new study out of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center found that "A woman's cardiovascular risk can rise sharply after she goes through menopause" — so high, in fact, that it's on par with men of a certain age.

It's almost certainly about the estrogen. Lower levels after menopause seem to increase the buildup of coronary artery calcium (CAC), aka plaque. And plaque levels don't just increase — the buildup accelerates, "indicating that many women experience a steep rise in the risk of heart problems."

This doesn't mean women should rush out and start taking estrogen supplements; you don't want to play fast and loose with hormones. What it does mean is that women should be thinking about their heart health more, especially after menopause. A great first step is simply speaking with a compounding pharmacist. Really.

Compounding pharmacists are experts in hormones and helping keep them in line. They'll work with GPs and even cardiologists to develop personalized supplements to help each woman best deal with the changes in her body and help keep it working well for a long time to come.