Sex hormone levels at midlife linked to heart disease risk in women
Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week
The first-of-its-kind evaluation, supported by the
The results call for further research to evaluate the menopause-related dynamic changes in sex hormones on the quality of cholesterol carriers over time, as well as increased emphasis on the importance of healthy diet and exercise for women undergoing menopause.
"Higher levels of HDL, or what we know as 'good cholesterol,' may not always be protective, as we have thought before," said lead investigator
"We found that lower levels of estradiol, one of the main hormonal changes that mark menopause, are associated with low-quality cholesterol carriers, which have been found to predict risk for heart disease," she said. "Our results suggest that there may be value in using advanced testing methods to evaluate changes in cholesterol carriers' quality in women early in menopause so that doctors can recommend appropriate diet and lifestyle changes."
Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream in small particles called lipoproteins, or cholesterol carriers. Conventional blood tests show the amount of cholesterol carried by these lipoproteins, rather than the characteristics of the lipoproteins themselves. There are two major types of lipoproteins: high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which helps keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries, and low density lipoprotein (LDL), the main source of cholesterol buildup and blockage in the arteries. Research studies have shown that the characteristics of LDL and HDL particles, including the number and size of these particles, significantly predict risk of heart disease.
Previous studies evaluating the associations between sex hormones and cardiovascular disease as women went through menopause looked only at cholesterol measured through conventional blood tests. Dr.
The study evaluated 120 women from
SWAN is an ongoing study of the biological, physical, psychological and social changes in more than 3,000 middle aged women who were recruited at seven sites across the U.S. The goal is to help scientists, health care providers and women learn how mid-life experiences affect health and quality of life during aging.
"As a woman transitions to menopause, many biological changes take place that can put her at greater risk of many conditions, including osteoporosis and heart disease," said Dr.
Keywords for this news article include: Lipids, Cardiology, Lipoproteins, Heart Disease, Risk and Prevention, Peptides and Proteins,
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