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How does age affect my risk for high cholesterol?


Because of your age, you may be at increased risk for having high cholesterol. The older you are, the higher your risk for high cholesterol and coronary heart disease. That's true whether you're a man or woman. Women, however, appear to be somewhat protected from heart disease until after menopause or around age 55. Then women tend to have higher LDL levels than do men of the same age.

How to Reduce Your Risk

How to Reduce Your Risk

Take these actions to have a healthier heart.

  • If you're a man age 45 or older and you don't know your blood cholesterol level, have it tested. Also talk with your doctor about your options for lowering your blood cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease.
  • If you're a woman who is age 55 or older or who is approaching or past menopause and you don't know your blood cholesterol level, have it tested. Also talk with your doctor about your options for lowering your blood cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease. In the past, hormone replacement therapy, known as HRT or estrogen replacement therapy, was thought to help reduce the risk of heart disease. The most recent 2001 guidelines from the National Cholesterol Education Program, however, show that medicines to reduce cholesterol are more effective than HRT. Your doctor can help you make the decision that is right for you.

Both men and women, take these steps to reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke:

  • Limit your total fat intake to no more than 25% to 35% of your total daily calories.
  • Limit your saturated fat intake to less than 7% of your total daily calories.
  • Limit your cholesterol intake to less than 200 mg per day.

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