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Cholesterol Levels for Women

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Cholesterol Levels for Women
Understand the various parameters that constitute cholesterol in the body. Find out more about cholesterol levels in women.

A study also reveals that 44% of men with diabetes had their cholesterol under control, compared with 38% of women with diabetes. Also 52% to 56% of men who suffered recent cardiac event had their cholesterol under control, compared with 43% to 47% of women.

Higher levels of LDL cholesterol lead to a build up of cholesterol in arteries. Any woman who has LDL cholesterol is likely to suffer heart disease or heart attacks. Hence, it is advised that women over the age of 20 should have their blood cholesterol checked regularly.

Many women are unaware that they can be on a healthy diet plan with regular exercise built into their regimen and still suffer high cholesterol levels. Besides, in most cases high cholesterol does not result in symptoms so it tends to get ignored. Another astonishing fact was that a large section of women were unaware of the parameters of measurement of cholesterol.

Understanding Cholesterol

Cholesterol is needed for the body to produce hormones, vitamin D and certain substances that help digest foods. Our body generally produces the required amount of this waxy, fat-like (cholesterol) substance though it is also found in the food we consume.

Cholesterol is fatty while blood is watery. They do not mix and hence lipoproteins are required for the cholesterol to travel in the blood stream. Lipoproteins package the cholesterol with fat or lipid inside and proteins outside.

There are two kinds of lipoproteins in the body. It is optimal for everyone to have healthy levels of both.

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol. High levels of LDL lead to a buildup of cholesterol in arteries leading to heart diseases.

  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol. HDL carries cholesterol from all parts of the body to the liver, where the cholesterol is removed from the body. If you have high levels of HDL cholesterol your chances of getting a heart disease is considerably low.

Women and Cholesterol

Women usually have fluctuation in their cholesterol levels because of the effect of estrogen on cholesterol. This is the reason for varying cholesterol levels in men and women. In general, estrogen increases the amount of HDL cholesterol in the body and also in turn reducing the LDL cholesterol.

Usually estrogen production is high during puberty and is low during the menopause period. It is said that estrogen produced during pregnancy in women has a cardio-protective effect.Hence, women at younger age are less likely to get heart diseases.

However, during menopause estrogen levels decline leading to the fall of HDL levels as well. As a result, LDL cholesterol levels rise and usually puts a women at the risk of heart disease.

Studies indicate that by age 45, most of the women develop high level of total cholesterol (200 milligrams per deciliter mg/dL) than men. It is generally advised that men have a HDL level at or above 40mg/dL and women have their HDL level at a minimum of 50mg/dL.

Cholesterol levels for women

It is ideal to test your cholesterol levels periodically. Blood cholesterol levels are diagnosed by blood sample from your body. The test is called the lipoprotein profile and it indicates the total cholesterol levels in your body including HDL and LDL.

The ideal total cholesterol level for women without a coronary heart disease should be not less than 200 mg/dL. If the total cholesterol level goes beyond 240 mg/dL then it is considered as high blood cholesterol. Remember even the cholesterol levels at the borderline (200-239 mg/dL) increase the risk of heart disease.

HDL & LDL levels for women without coronary heart disease
Ideal or Desirable levels (required levels to avoid risk of heart disease) Risk levels (at the risk of heart disease)
HDL 60 mg/dL or higher Below 35 mg/dL
LDL Below 130 mg/dL 130-159 mg/dL are borderline-high 160 mg/dL or above are high

Women with coronary heart disease are at the greater risk of having heart attack than a woman without heart disease. Hence, if you have coronary heart disease, check your cholesterol levels immediately. Consult your doctor for necessary medications if required.

HDL & LDL levels for women with coronary heart disease
Ideal or Desirable levels (required levels to avoid risk of heart disease) Risk levels (at the risk of heart disease)
HDL 60 mg/dL or higher Below 35 mg/dL
LDL About 100 mg/dL or below Above 100 mg/dL

It is advised that women with coronary heart disease check their cholesterol levels once every year. Genetic factors play no small role in individual cholesterol levels. It is very difficult to raise HDL cholesterol that is lowered due to genetic factor. High levels of triglycerides can be result of insulin resistance.

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