Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors in Women

Cholesterol in Women

High cholesterol is one example in which the way men and women are affected by a condition and the subsequent treatment that would be appropriate are different. It's true that high cholesterol in either gender increases the risk of coronary heart disease. However, women under the age of 50 don't often have a cholesterol level that would warrant typical treatment to lower cholesterol. This is because, before menopause, women tend to have a higher HDL-cholesterol level that protects them. But after menopause, these protective levels of HDL cholesterol can drop.

Regardless of whether a woman has experienced menopause or not, high cholesterol levels -- although not high enough to receive intensive treatment -- should be lowered. This usually means making lifestyle changes that embrace healthy habits, including a balanced diet, losing excess weight, quitting smoking, and engaging in regular physical activity.

In older women, levels of triglycerides provide an excellent indicator of coronary heart disease. This may be a result of increased insulin resistance, which typically occurs after menopause and is associated with a higher level of triglycerides.

Women are also more likely than men to develop high blood pressure at an advanced age. The next page explains how this condition affects women.

For more information on coronary heart disease, see:
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