Cholesterol and Women
We hear a lot about cholesterol tests and numbers for good
reason - high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, the number
one killer of men and women. But are cholesterol concerns the same for men
We routinely advise women (and men) to keep their total cholesterol under 200.
Some doctors are now questioning whether this number should be even lower for
We know that estrogen has a protective effect on cholesterol - causing HDL, the
"good cholesterol" to stay high and keeping LDL, the "bad cholesterol", in check.
Once a woman goes through menopause, however, she loses this benefit unless
she takes estrogen replacement. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
estimates that more than half of women over age 55 need to lower their cholesterol.
This can often be accomplished with aggressive dietary changes, exercise, or
medication - often, a combination of all three interventions is necessary.
Interestingly, recent studies have shown that women actually reap greater rewards
from treatment than men, sometimes lowering their risk of a heart attack by twice
as much. Studies also show, however, that many women who are being treated
with medicine are treated with insufficient doses to achieve the desired effect.
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Created: 2/1/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.