Women have more trouble controlling their LDL “bad” cholesterol levels than men.
The reason may be that doctors underestimate the risk of high cholesterol and heart disease for women. Also, doctors may not be treating high cholesterol as aggressively in women as in men.
High cholesterol levels can contribute to cardiac problems like heart attacks, strokes, and hypertension.
According to the National Committee for Quality Assurance, the data from 46 commercial managed care plans and 148 Medicare plans shows that women have better outcomes than men on all cardiovascular and diabetes conditions except cholesterol control.
While 55% of white men with recent cardiac problems had their cholesterol levels under control, only 46% of white women did. For African-Americans, the levels were 45% for men and 34% for women.
In February, the American Heart Association released more aggressive recommendations, including lowering LDL cholesterol to less than 70 mg/dL in high risk women with heart disease.
There’s another factor that may impact certain women.
There’s a slight increase in LDL “bad” cholesterol and a slight decrease in HDL “good” cholesterol after menopause.
The good news is that you may be able to reduce your cholesterol through changes in diet and exercise in some cases. Other times, you may need drug therapy.
You should discuss with your doctor if you need to have your cholesterol levels measured and what treatment you may need, if any.