Do Women Get High Cholesterol?
Conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, or hypercholesterolemia, to give it its correct medical term, are more common in women that most people think. Although women are protected from cardiovascular disease to some extent by their hormones, this only lasts as long as they are having regular periods. As soon as they pass through the menopause, they are just as at risk of heart attacks and strokes as men of the same age.
High cholesterol is usually a result of a diet high in saturated fats, and indicates a less than active lifestyle. Making lifestyle changes can therefore make a big difference, but if that doesn’t lower your cholesterol to the correct level, medical therapy with statins is usually successful.
The Two Major Types of CholesterolThe terms ‘bad’ cholesterol and ‘good’ cholesterol are used quite often, but what do they mean? Good cholesterol is used to describe high density lipoprotein cholesterol. This is cholesterol that contains a lot of protein and only a little fat in each of its molecules. HDL cholesterol takes cholesterol out of the blood and takes it to the liver to be broken down. Lots of exercise can increase your levels of HDL cholesterol, and this lowers your risk of heart disease. The good news for women is that, generally, they tend to have higher levels of HDL cholesterol than men.
‘Bad’ cholesterol is low density lipoprotein. These molecules are made up mostly of fat and their protein component is much smaller. This is the major type of cholesterol that circulates in the blood and, if there is too much of it, it clogs together and starts to form the fatty plaques on the inside of arteries; the start of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.