Why does the menopause affect cholesterol levels ?

Research studies have revealed, that menopause affect on cholesterol levels can be a major cause of cardiovascular disease. It is proven that women have an increased risk of heart diseases after menopause, the reason being cited, is the increase in the level of LDL Cholesterol, and corresponding decrease in the level of HDL Cholesterol. The level of HDL Cholesterol, or as we say, good cholesterol, is high in a woman, during her reproductive years, due to release of estrogen within the body. An increase in the levels of bad cholesterol is due to the decrease in the level of estrogen within the body of a woman.

Impact of Menopause on Cholesterol Levels
Impact of Menopause on Cholesterol Levels

Symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, which is a sign of higher levels of cholesterol. Research studies have revealed that, the more the hot flashes, the higher is the cholesterol level, which can lead to the hardening and narrowing of the arteries. As such, the walls of the arteries have a build up of LDL, or low density lipoprotein, leading to higher risk of heart diseases. At least, a part of the answer to the question, does menopause affect cholesterol, is now available after the research on menopause high cholesterol relation. Research work, conducted on women in their late 40s, showed that, during the transition period of menopause, there is a gradual decrease in the HDL cholesterol levels, rendering ineffective cardiac benefits.

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Even extensive research on the relation of menopause with high levels of bad cholesterol, has yet to reveal enough data, so that we are able to understand exactly, how the impact of lipids can help women from heart disease, during the transition, or after having menopause. But one thing which has been established, is the fact, that, menopause is associated with a sharp increase in the LDL cholesterol levels, and not the process of aging, with women. A research study, conducted over a period of 10 years, in the US, found that, on reaching menopause, a jump in the levels of bad cholesterol was noticed, leading to increased risk of heart diseases. The study was conducted on over 1000 women, who were in their stage of menopause, and were tested for blood pressure, cholesterol, and factors like insulin and blood glucose levels, which are related to heart disease.

Studies have also revealed that, women, who were in their final menstrual stages, were prone to sudden increase of the cholesterol level, figures, showing an increase of 9% LDL, and about 6.5% increase in total cholesterol. A gradual increase in systolic blood pressure and insulin level were also noticed, but they were suggested to be associated with aging, and not menopause, because of the steady rise, unlike that of cholesterol. Other facts, revealed by the surveys, suggest that, women living for decades after reaching menopause, gradually become more prone to heart disease because of the cumulative effect of the rise in the cholesterol levels. Small changes in cholesterol level during the early stage of menopause, turns into rapid changes during the later periods, thus, increasing the risk factor for heart diseases.

Doctors suggest changing the cholesterol and menopause diet plan for women who have entered the menopause stage. They also recommend, having foods that are rich in iron, such as fish, lean meat, eggs, leafy vegetables, grain products,that are rich in iron, and nuts. While the risk factors related to heart diseases during menopause cannot be changed, a well planned diet for women during this period, such as, including calcium and a variety of nutrient rich foods in the diet,can help in reducing the risk of heart diseases. What doctors also suggest, is light exercise, that can help bring down the cholesterol level.

Also Watch : Top 5 Menopause Myths & Facts

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