Maintaining a normal cholesterol level for a woman is easier before menopause because the hormone estrogen naturally raises a woman’s HDL “good” cholesterol level.
However, after menopause, the cholesterol level of a woman can elevate with little or no warning, increasing a woman’s risk of heart attack or stroke.
Women tend to carry higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in their blood than men. Estrogen levels, which are highest during a woman’s childbearing years, act as a natural heart protector and maybe the reason women who have not yet reached menopause do not develop heart disease as commonly as men.
Cholesterol Level For A Woman After Menopause
The Cholesterol level of a woman will typically change after menopause because estrogen is no longer being produced in high quantities.
Surprisingly, studies performed on post-menopausal women who had suffered from a heart attack revealed that the women did not reduce their risk of further heart complications by taking hormone replacement therapy.
Therefore, women should not take hormone replacement therapy for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Women, who have a family or personal history of certain cancers, including cancer involving the endocrine system or breast cancer, are also discouraged from taking hormone replacement therapy.
Women with osteoporosis or different medical conditions may benefit from hormone therapy.
Normal Cholesterol Levels For A Woman
Men and women require about the same amount of cholesterol with only a small differences in the amount of HDL cholesterol. Your doctor will evaluate the cholesterol levels in your blood by performing a test called a lipoprotein profile. From this test, your doctor will be able to evaluate your total cholesterol level, LDL cholesterol level, triglyceride level, and HDL level.
Both men and woman want to have the following readings:
• a total cholesterol count less than 200 mg/dL (less than 5.2 mmol/L),
• an LDL cholesterol level less than 100 mg/dL (less than 2.6 mmol/L), and
• a triglyceride level less than 150 mg/dL (less than 1.7 mmol/L).
These three values should be low to lower the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Cholesterol Level For A Woman – Lowering Cholesterol Naturally
Your risk of heart attack and stroke increases significantly after you reach menopause (the average age for women to reach menopause is 51 years).
If your doctor has told you to lower your cholesterol or you would like to be proactive, you can get started making positive lifestyle changes today.
Eat a diet low in saturated fats (red meats, full-fat dairy foods) and high in fiber (low-starch vegetables, fruits, whole grains). Exercise regularly aiming for a minimum of 30 minutes a day for five of the seven days each week.
You can also be proactive by stopping smoking, losing weight, and taking natural supplements designed to lower cholesterol.
These beneficial steps can lower the cholesterol level for a woman of any age.
References:(1) American Heart Association (2011). Women and cholesterol. Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/UnderstandYourRiskforHighCholesterol/Women-and-Cholesterol_UCM_305565_Article.jsp