High cholesterol has been one of the biggest reasons for people developing heart diseases all over the world. Around 17.9 million people lose their lives because of heart diseases all over the world and people with high cholesterol are at the highest risk.
If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol then this means that cholesterol or unhealthy fat deposits will build up in the arteries which cause different heart diseases and it is the number one cause of death when it comes to women.
So, you must be curious to understand why is it that women are at the highest risk? To understand the link between high cholesterol in women and heart diseases we will study this in-depth.
What is cholesterol and its kinds:
Cholesterol is a kind of fat that is a wax-like in texture, it is used to make cells, bile juice, and hormones in the body. This cholesterol is carried in our body through the bloodstream in the form of lipoproteins. This is then divided into two kinds
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) also known as the “bad cholesterol” provides the fat to where it is needed in our bodies.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) which is also known as the “good cholesterol” takes the fat to the liver where it is rightly broken down.
High cholesterol and heart diseases in women
You should be anxious to learn that high cholesterol affects women differently than men.
This happens for a lot of reasons and some of them are as listed below:
The basic relation between women and high cholesterol is due to hormonal changes. Women tend to have higher levels of good cholesterol as compared to men because they have the female hormone, estrogen. The estrogen levels vary according to their menstrual cycle. During the time of ovulation, the estrogen levels increase, and along with that the HDL levels while on the contrary, the bad cholesterol hits a low right before their period.
2. During menopause
Due to this variation of cholesterol levels in women throughout their bodies when they reach menopause, these levels get a shock. This makes the levels of LDL rise and the good cholesterol decrease during this period of their lives. This is why most women start getting issues with their cholesterol around their 50s.
3. During pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time when a woman’s body undergoes a lot of changes in terms of their bodies, hormones, etc. Due to this variation in the levels of hormones a woman is at the highest risk of developing heart diseases which can also be a result of any complications that occurred during their pregnancy. There is an overall increase in the levels of bad cholesterol during pregnancy but this returns to normal post-pregnancy.
What are the risks?
So due to all these reasons and the variations in the levels of cholesterol in a woman they are at a higher risk of developing heart diseases in comparison to men. They are also at a high risk of developing heart diseases during these following times
- Older age
- If they smoke
- Don’t exercise much
- Poor diet and eating habits
- If they have a family history of heart diseases
- Complications during pregnancy
- Obesity, etc
A lot of the aforementioned reasons could only heighten women’s chances of developing heart disease.
What happens in a woman’s body with all these hormones fluctuating is something that we need to understand.
If there are high levels of LDL or bad cholesterol in your body and low levels of good cholesterol then your body is at a high risk of getting a serious heart ailment.
The good cholesterol takes the fat from your bloodstream and takes it to the liver to be broken down, but if you have high quantities of LDL in your bloodstream and not enough HDL to check it then these fats get accumulated in the arteries and blood vessels, these cholesterol deposits is called a plaque. This plaque grows and blocks the arteries and in turn blocks the blood flow to the heart which in itself is a symptom of heart disease.
So, if you have high levels of bad cholesterol then you are at a high risk of getting heart disease, and when you are a woman this starts happening once you reach the mark 50-55 mark when you stop mensurating and these cholesterol levels go haywire.
It is advised to start indulging in healthy habits and control the cholesterol levels before it gets too late.
How to maintain healthy cholesterol levels?
Start with taking a physical activity early in life
No matter you are a man or a woman, you need to get yourself involved in any kind of physical activity when you are still young. An unhealthy lifestyle and bad eating habits will only increase your risks of developing into disease later in life. For women it becomes even more essential to prepare yourself right before menopause, start with any activity that you enjoy like cycling, yoga, or walking that helps you to maintain a healthy weight and control the cholesterol levels.
Quit drinking or smoking
If you were in a habit of smoking and drinking a lot then it is your time to finally quit those habits as they will only increase your chances of developing heart disease as they directly affect the cholesterol levels and increases the LDL levels and also inhibits the working of your liver to breakdown the fats.
If you have been advised by a doctor to take medicines to control the levels of cholesterol in your body then follow their advice and take the right medication for high cholesterol in women.
Along with these try to eat a balanced diet that is rich in a lot of nutrients and avoid eating fatty foods, drink a lot of water, and control your sugar intake too.
As you reach the 40-mark start taking periodic check-ups to keep a check on your body and take all the necessary methods to control whatever it is that you think needs controlling.