High cholesterol is a leading problem that often puts the heart at risk at any age. As we age, so does our body and here is how women in their 40s can control LDL levels everyday and protect their heart.
High Cholesterol In Women: Cholesterol control is one important aspect that all of us should be mindful of. With rising health concerns, bad cholesterol levels can put the heart at risk at any age in this contemporary world riddled with sedentary lifestyles. For women, health concerns vary. But what is the relationship between cholesterol levels and women?
HIGH CHOLESTEROL AND WOMEN
According to Hopkinsmedicine.org women tend to have higher levels of HDL cholesterol than men because of the female sex hormone – estrogen. According to the National Institute Of Health research, cholesterol levels in women vary depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle, due to changes in estrogen levels. However, things tend to take a turn once women reach menopause. During this time LDL cholesterol rises while HDL falls. Therefore women experience a higher level of cholesterol that can further lead to heart attack.
Causes of Bad Cholesterol Level in Women in 40s:
- Poor Diet: Consuming a diet high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol can contribute to elevated cholesterol levels. Foods such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, fried foods, processed snacks, and baked goods can be high in unhealthy fats.
- Lack of Physical Activity: Leading a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to high cholesterol levels. Regular physical activity helps raise HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and lower LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol).
- Excess Weight: Being overweight or obese is often associated with higher cholesterol levels. Excess body weight can lead to an imbalance in cholesterol metabolism and increase LDL cholesterol levels.
- Family History: Genetics can play a role in high cholesterol. If you have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease, you may be more predisposed to developing elevated cholesterol levels.
- Hormonal Changes: Hormonal changes during perimenopause and menopause can affect cholesterol levels in women. Estrogen helps maintain healthy levels of HDL cholesterol, and its decline during menopause can result in increased LDL cholesterol and decreased HDL cholesterol.
HOW TO PREVENT BAD CHOLESTEROL IN WOMEN IN 40s:
- Adopt a Heart-Healthy Diet: Focus on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins (like fish and poultry), and healthy fats (such as avocados, nuts, and olive oil). Limit the intake of saturated fats and avoid trans fats. Increase fiber intake as it can help lower cholesterol levels.
- Engage in Regular Exercise: Incorporate aerobic exercises (such as walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling) into your routine for at least 150 minutes per week. Additionally, include strength training exercises to build muscle and increase metabolism.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Aim to achieve and maintain a healthy weight through a combination of a balanced diet and regular physical activity. Losing excess weight can help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
- Quit Smoking: Smoking damages blood vessels and lowers HDL cholesterol levels while increasing LDL cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. Quitting smoking can improve cholesterol levels and overall cardiovascular health.
- Limit Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to high cholesterol and other health issues. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation (up to one drink per day for women).
- Regular Cholesterol Screenings: Schedule regular check-ups and cholesterol screenings with your healthcare provider. This helps monitor your cholesterol levels and assess your overall cardiovascular health.
Remember, these dietary recommendations should be tailored to your individual needs and preferences. It’s always a good idea to consult with a registered dietitian or healthcare professional for personalized advice based on your specific health goals and any underlying medical conditions.