Cholesterol and Menopause

Health.com published an article today that summarizes the findings of a recent study on menopause and cholesterol that shows women’s cholesterol levels increase at the time of menopause. The study’s abstract can be found here, at the Journal of the American College of Cardiology site.

Image: heart-valve-surgery.com

Image: heart-valve-surgery.com

It isn’t news that cholesterol and other risks of heart disease increase as women age, but the study wanted to determine if the cholesterol increase was due to simple aging, or more specifically related to menopause. They found that within two years of a woman’s last period, her LDL cholesterol (so-called bad cholesterol) jumps about 10 points. This increase may be small, but if a woman already has elevated cholesterol, it could be problematic. Additionally, since other risk factors for heart disease increase with age, this increase in cholesterol could team with other cardio-related age affects to create an increased risk of heart problems. The study authors suggest that peri-menopausal women take this news under advisement and become even more vigilant about their diet and exercise routines.

This study is not only interesting because of the findings, but also because of the methodology they employed; the researchers used self-reported data from a national health registry to conduct their study. The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) is very akin to our state based registry, the Illinois Women’s Health Registry (if you live in Illinois, go join!). Analysis of these surveys and normal everyday women who participated pulled out this very interesting finding. It’s quite clear that this is a great example of why gender-based research is so necessary, study of cholesterol rates in an all-male study group would never have discovered this connection! Finally, the study concluded that the link between increased cholesterol and menopause was true for most ethnicities…because they included women from many ethnicities! It’s amazing how much more we learn when diverse participants are used for clinical research studies!

31 Comments

  1. Posted December 21, 2009 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I never really put Cholesterol and Menopause together like the report does. I went through an early and forced menopause at 38 with a hysterectomy, since then, my cholesterol has risen by 40 points.

    And I thought it was just age…

    Thanks for the info!

    Kim

  2. Posted December 24, 2009 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Heart disease in women i agree will be greatly affected by old age and cholesterol but may i add it is also hereditary,genes played a large part especially in women which is usually biologically stronger than men

  3. Posted January 1, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    It was really interesting to read about the connection between menopause and cholesterol.

    These findings from the American College of Cardiology are in contradiction to the information being put out by the National Institute of Aging. According to their report on Menopause, “it is probably advancing age—not menopause itself—that is the likely cause of a woman’s rising cholesterol”. Now that there is more data available from this study maybe they’ll delve more deeply.

    I still think a relatively healthy diet, along with exercise, not smoking and limiting alcohol to an occasional glass of red wine, can help improve cholesterol levels, regardless of age.

  4. Posted January 15, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    It explains why postmenopausal women have a much higher risk for heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases than women who are still menstruating.

  5. Posted February 13, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    It is important for women to monitor their cholesterol level during menopause because of their risk of heart disease. A healthy
    lifestyle and exercise will help increase the blood circulation level and ease the symptoms. It is also a good idea for women to be allowed to take natural hormone therapy like the bio-identical hormone because they are safer and effective. There are natural creams available over the internet but it is recommended to check with your healthcare provider before using it.

  6. Posted February 17, 2010 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Hi. Very interesting site. I found it on Google. I will definately recommend it to my friends.
    It was motivating. You seem very expert in your field.
    keep up the great work, I have subscribed to your rss feed

    Jack

  7. Posted February 18, 2010 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    My mother was just diagnosed with high cholesterol and put on a strict diet and exercise program. She has always been healthy so if this finding is true it will ease her mind a bit (knowing that some of the increase in her cholesterol came from menopause and not her lifestyle). Thank you for the information here. It will make my mother’s day! :)

  8. Wine Rack Plans
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I’m all for gender based research also. You just never know how something in your body will be affected until they research it.
    Thanks!

  9. Bulky
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 4:22 am | Permalink

    The long term effects of estrogen deficiency that accompanies menopause vary among different ladies, owing to genetic, psychological and environmental factors. This means that some ladies will suffer from the effects of estrogen deprivation, while others will not and this individuality will seem really obvious to a physician specializing in this area. Generally, the loss of estrogen results in a higher risk of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and sexual dysfunction in post menopausal women.

  10. menozac
    Posted July 18, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Wow that’s pretty interesting, I had no idea that a woman’s cholesterol level would rise when going through menopause. I’m a heavy set woman myself so I have high cholesterol. Thanks for your information i’ll be visiting the doctor soon

  11. american
    Posted July 26, 2010 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    It was really interesting to read about the connection between menopause and cholesterol.

    These findings from the American College of Cardiology are in contradiction to the information being put out by the National Institute of Aging. According to their report on Menopause, “it is probably advancing age—not menopause itself—that is the likely cause of a woman’s rising cholesterol”. Now that there is more data available from this study maybe they’ll delve more deeply.

  12. 360Menopause.com
    Posted July 27, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Heart disease is a major issue with menopausal women and I am still wondering if we are getting the word out there how important it is to exercise and eat right in the second half of a woman’s life. Does anyone know what type of exercise can help offset higher LDL levels? High intensity cardio, low intensity, etc.

  13. Posted August 2, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I totally agree that more gender-based research is so necessary to understand the symptoms that all women go through during perimenopause. But importantly the findings need to be share with more women so that they can become proactive and make changes in their lifestyle. Many latinas already suffer from high cholesterol and this information can safe their lives.

  14. Tom the x-ray man
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Yes, this is really interesting to read about the increase in cholesterol when a woman has menopause.
    After menopause does the cholsetrol decrease?

  15. Kevin Deeb
    Posted September 20, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Being in Direct mail marketing. I have worked with research firms who have mailed to woman to do this type of research. It is always for a good cause.

  16. Mary
    Posted September 21, 2010 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    I heard wine could ease on cholesterol rate… can anybody confirm?

  17. rhodes
    Posted October 6, 2010 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    Thanks for your article and I just linked this from my blog because I want my members to read this.

  18. Symptoms for menopause
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    The fact is that the change in hormonal levels affects women in many ways. The more studies like this one, that are conducted the more we will know how to reduce or prevent many of the menopausal symptoms.

  19. Celi
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    None of the cholesterol meds work on my sister. And she had an early menopause from a hysterectomy. We never made the connection between menopause and cholesterol. I am wondering what the latest information is on this.

  20. wine by the month
    Posted December 19, 2010 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    This is some pretty helpful info. My wife is approaching menopause… just emailed her the article. I suppose all you can do is exercise and eat well.

  21. Mary Ruddy
    Posted January 23, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    I have always had problems with my cholesterol and am approaching menopause. I had to come off the medication I was given because it affected my liver. And now I control my cholesterol through diet, exercise and natural supplements. But I find the article interesting as I was not aware there was a connection between cholesterol and menopause so now I can be ready and more prepared for that.

  22. Danby
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    My wife has high cholesterol and we were just informed she really needs to try and get it under control before she hits menopause as it very well could get worse.

  23. Carole Book
    Posted February 18, 2011 at 3:57 am | Permalink

    This is something I was not aware off and reading other posts many others weren’t either!
    We need to be aware of these statistics and regular checks on cholestrol in post menopausal women should be standard.
    I shall remember this for the future. Thank you!!!

  24. Cars Dublin
    Posted February 18, 2011 at 4:00 am | Permalink

    A great point of reference for the future, thinking about this cholestral levels went undetected in my own mother for many years. Probably due to her menopause!

  25. Chelle
    Posted April 4, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    This is the reason why women should control their cholesterol levels even before menopause so that when they do reach menopause, their levels won’t suddenly shoot up, putting them at risk for a slew of diseases such as heart disease. It’s very important for everyone to learn how to lower cholesterol naturally before it’s too late.

  26. Medical Equipments Supply
    Posted May 26, 2011 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Great blog, this site has given me many great on ideas on how to move on with my own blog.

  27. Weight loss
    Posted June 7, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    I mean, when you’ve had a problem in your past, whether it’s attributed directly to high cholesterol or not, you want to lower your cholesterol. You want to eat healthy. You want to feel healthy. You want to have a little more energy.

  28. Gary Tan
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 1:04 am | Permalink

    Menopause is a normal phase in a woman’s life but it needs to be prepared for and the study mentioned in the articles is one of the best proofs for this. Women should monitor their health even before they enter menopause.

  29. cholesterol levels for women
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Women have higher levels of estrogen therefore women have more good cholesterol in their bodies than men. This explains why pre menopausal women have a lower risk of contracting heart disease than total cholesterol men.

  30. greeting cards
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    That is just alarming. But good way to put into text. This blog is a lifesaver. Well at least it would make a lot of people become are of it. Menopausal or not, woman should always try to watch their cholesterol level… And same goes to men…

  31. Manoj gupta
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    This article is really good it tells how important to monitor cholesterol level during menopause, as it increase risk of heart disease. I have read a good articles that explains how to lower Cholesterol level with low Cholesterol diet.
    http://healthinfonews.info/top-10-tips-on-how-to-lower-cholesterol-level-with-low-cholesterol-diet/

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