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High Cholesterol Linked To Menopause

December 11, 2009, 5:10 PM by Kelli Grant

High Cholesterol Linked To Menopause
Charlotte Grossman saw her cholesterol jump when she hit menopause.

“It had gone up over 60-70 points, the total cholesterol and the ldls were skyrocketing also,” said Grossman.

She's not alone. In a study of more than a thousand women virtually all of them saw a sharp increase in Cholesterol around their last menstrual cycle. And, the so called bad cholesterol - called LDL - increased most dramatically.

“This is the stuff that actually causes plaque to develop in the arteries,” said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum of Lenox Hill Hospital.

While women are at greater risk of developing heart disease as they get older... only cholesterol is directly linked to menopause.

The study followed the women between 42 to 52 years old...for nine years. All of them showed a rise in cholesterol levels, regardless of age, weight and ethnic group.

“If we can identify women who are at risk for developing high cholesterol early on, we can make changes so that when they go into menopause their cholesterol doesn't go up,” Steinbaum said.

Grossman now takes medicine, and watches what she eats.

“I eat healthy. I try my best, a lot of fruits and vegetables, very little red meat,” said Grossman.

The 62 year old is also exercising... doing everything she can to keep her cholesterol in check.

But menopause isn't a woman's only risk factor for high cholesterol. High blood pressure, smoking, or a family history of early heart disease could also put you at risk.

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