Hi Kitty, Great question - thanks for asking because there are so many of us whose cholesterol and lipids have risen with the advent of Menopause.
The American Heart Association recommends a low fat diet - especially lower in saturated fat - to lower cholesterol and triglycerides. And this works, but not for everyone. (Sounds like menopause remedies, doesn?t it?) Some people have no change or even higher levels with a low fat diet. My brother in law?s cholesterol and triglycerides came down to normal on the Atkins diet - which is high fat and low to no carbs. So there seems not to be one right answer for everyone.
I?d urge starting with the AHA recommendations and seeing if that works for you. And it is always a good idea to consult with your trusted health care practitioner to make an informed choice.
I want to address an important issue about cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Your risk for heart disease is predicated on a number of factors such as family history, smoking, high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle, the presence of diabetes or other conditions and so on. It is important to assess your personal risk by looking at all the risk factors and modifying those you can. (For example, you can?t change your family history, but you can increase your exercise levels, which incidentally raise HDL, the protective cholesterol and lower overall lipids.) If your only risk factor is elevated cholesterol and triglyceride (like me), there is not as much need for concern. Exercise and diet will likely be the preferred way to adjust; if these are not successful, cholesterol lowering drugs may be prescribed. However, be wary of "treating lab results" rather than you, the person. All drugs have side effects. Look at ALL your risk factors and choose your healthcare options accordingly. As always, begin with the least interventional remedy with the least adverse effects - and give it time to work.
Hope this helps - check out more from the American Heart Association website below:
AHA Recommendation Cholesterol plays a major role in a person's heart health. High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke. That's why it's important for all people to know their cholesterol level. They should also learn about their other risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Total blood cholesterol is the most common measurement of blood cholesterol. It's the number you receive as test results. Cholesterol is measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). Blood cholesterol for adults is classified by levels. Your healthcare provider must interpret your cholesterol numbers based on other risk factors such as age, gender, family history, race, smoking, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes. The American Heart Association endorses the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) guidelines for detection of high cholesterol. The Third Report of the Expert panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III or ATP III) was released in 2001. It recommends that everyone age 20 and older have a fasting "lipoprotein profile" every five years. This test is done after a 9?12-hour fast without food, liquids or pills. It gives information about total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad" cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or "good" cholesterol and triglycerides (blood fats). Researchers have established healthy ranges for each of these. They're given in the lists below. If a fasting lipoprotein profile isn't possible, the values for total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol are acceptable. Initial classification based on total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol
Total Cholesterol Level Category Less than 200 mg/dL Desirable level that puts you at lower risk for coronary heart disease. A cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or higher raises your risk. 200 to 239 mg/dL Borderline high 240 mg/dL and above High blood cholesterol. A person with this level has more than twice the risk of coronary heart disease as someone whose cholesterol is below 200 mg/dL.
HDL Cholesterol Level Category Less than 40 mg/dL (for men) Less than 50 mg/dL (for women) Low HDL cholesterol. A major risk factor for heart disease. 60 mg/dL and above High HDL cholesterol. An HDL of 60 mg/dL and above is considered protective against heart disease. If your total cholesterol is 200 mg/dL or more, or your HDL cholesterol is less than 40 mg/dL (for men) and less than 50 mg/dL (for women), you need to have a lipoprotein profile done to determine your LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. If your cholesterol is high or you have other risk factors, your healthcare provider will likely want to monitor your cholesterol more closely. Follow your provider's advice about how often to have your cholesterol tested. He or she will set appropriate management goals based on your LDL cholesterol level and other risk factors. LDL Cholesterol Level Category Less than 100 mg/dL Optimal 100 to 129 mg/dL Near or above optimal 130 to 159 mg/dL Borderline high 160 to 189 mg/dL High 190 mg/dL and above Very high Your LDL cholesterol goal depends on how many other risk factors you have.? If you don't have coronary heart disease or diabetes and have one or no risk factors, your LDL goal is less than 160 mg/dL. If you don't have coronary heart disease or diabetes and have two or more risk factors, your LDL goal is less than 130 mg/dL. If you do have coronary heart disease or diabetes, your LDL goal is less than 100 mg/dL. Triglyceride is the most common type of fat in the body. Many people who have heart disease or diabetes have high triglyceride levels. Normal triglyceride levels vary by age and sex. A high triglyceride level combined with low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol seems to speed up atherosclerosis (the buildup of fatty deposits in artery walls). Atherosclerosis increases the risk for heart attack and stroke. Triglyceride Level Category Less than 150 mg/dL Normal 150?199 mg/dL Borderline high 200?499 mg/dL High 500 mg/dL and above Very high On the whole, Americans should reduce the amount of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and total fat in their diet. If you have high blood cholesterol, it's very important to control high blood pressure, avoid tobacco smoke, eat a healthy diet, get regular physical activity, maintain a healthy weight, and control or delay the onset of diabetes. Taking these steps will help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. If you still need drugs to reduce your blood cholesterol, a healthy diet and active lifestyle will help lower your cholesterol and improve your overall cardiovascular health."
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