Did you know approximately a 6.6million people worldwide suffer from severe chronic heart ailments every year? And according to a journal published by a leading medical institute, it was stated that chronic heart ailments affected women more than men and are the leading cause of fatality in them. Quite terrifying right?
Both men and women are at a high risk of getting affected due to high cholesterol levels in the body but according to the report produced in 2019, approximately 3.2 million women worldwide suffer from heart diseases on an average every year which is extremely high as compared to men.
But do you know what is the main factor of these chronic heart ailments? It is the high levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream. High levels of cholesterol and heart disease in women is an important concern that needs to be addressed immediately.
If your mind is also boggled with different queries regarding this topic then continue reading the article as we delve further into the subject.
What do you need to know about high cholesterol in women!
According to the medical definitions, cholesterol is a soft, waxy, fat-like substance found in the blood and all cells of the body. Having high levels of cholesterol in the body can produce severe complications in the body but did you know our body needs a healthy amount of cholesterol in our system to maintain proper functioning of the body. Yes, you read that right. Cholesterol is used to make hormones, cells, and other substances like vitamin D and bile in our system.
Our body produces two types of cholesterols in our bloodstream and it is important that we know the difference between both of the types.
1.Low-density lipoprotein or LDL (bad) cholesterol-
This type of cholesterol is produced by the body naturally or can be inherited down. If your family has a history of heart diseases, then you can also inherit the tendency to produce excess amounts of LDL cholesterol. Excess production of this cholesterol can put you at an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Consuming a diet that is rich in trans and saturated fat will increase the level of LDL cholesterol in the body. It transports cholesterol to where it is required in the body.
2.High-density lipoprotein or HDL (good) cholesterol-
According to doctors, increased HDL cholesterols in the bloodstream will protect the body from heart diseases and also reduce the excess plaque buildup in the body. HDL brings back the cholesterol to the liver where it is broken down and therefore preventing excessive rising of the cholesterol levels in our body.
Triglycerides are the form of fat made in our body. If you consume a diet rich in carbohydrates and lead a sedentary or unruly lifestyle, it causes an increase in the formation of triglycerides in the body which leads to high LDL cholesterol in the body and reduces the HDL levels in the process.
Cause of high cholesterol and heart disease in women
We all know that a certain healthy amount of cholesterol levels is needed by the body to maintain the overall well-being of the system but if excess cholesterol is produced in our body then it builds up in the inner walls of the arteries and hardens and turns into plaque over time. This plaque narrows the walls of the arteries and reduces the flow of blood through them. The reduced blood flow leads to the formation of blood clots and produces excessive strain on the arterial walls, therefore, increasing your risk of heart diseases, heart attacks, or strokes.
Knowing the optimal levels of each type of cholesterol is critical as too much of either of the types can put you at the risk of getting affected by heart ailments.
Having cholesterol levels of more than 200miligrams in your bloodstream is dangerous for both men and women but as we know high cholesterol affects women more than men, therefore, the following statistics are essential for women.
Above 60mg/dl is beneficial and having less than 50mg/dl is considered a major threat for heart diseases.
Below 100 mg/dl is considered normal if you do not have any heart diseases and neither a family history of heart ailments. However, if you have such a history and is over 55 years of age, and also suffer from other ailments like diabetes or high blood pressure then keep your LDL levels below 70 mg/dl.
Why does high cholesterol affect women more than men?
Women generally have high levels of HDL cholesterol levels in their body due to the female sex hormone estrogen present in their system. The cholesterol levels in women vary according to the menstrual cycle. During the time of ovulation as the estrogen level rises, the HDL levels also rise and vice versa. Therefore, usually, we see high cholesterol in women than in men.
However, the entire scenario changes when a woman undergoes menopause. After a woman experiences menopause, the LDL cholesterol levels in the body shoot up and the HDL levels fall. Therefore women who might have good cholesterol levels in their body during early years suffer some severe chronic heart ailments in the later years of their life. And this is the biggest factor that causes the fatality of women after 55 years of age.
How to lower high cholesterol levels in women?
Due to hormones and other lifestyle factors having high cholesterol levels in the body although terrifying, is a common occurrence in women. However, high cholesterol levels can easily be maintained with the help of some preventive measures and precautions like:
- Do not lead a sedentary lifestyle. You can do yoga, jogging or even simple walking for at least an hour every day.
- Maintain a healthy weight and avoid smoking and reduce your alcohol intake.
- Eat a balanced diet containing all the required nutrients and micronutrients and avoid foods that are rich in trans and unsaturated fatty acids.
Hope this article was able to solve all your queries regarding high cholesterol in women. Millions of women worldwide suffer from chronic heart ailments every year and it is very important to keep your cholesterol levels in check.
There are no symptoms to diagnose high cholesterol levels in the body therefore make sure to measure your levels yearly especially for women after menopause. If you suffer from high cholesterol levels, consult your doctor immediately and with the help of proper medications, treatments and a healthy lifestyle, it can be easily reduced and maintained.