At first women could win!
Younger women are believed to be protected from heart disease due to “estrogen”. Estrogen (female hormone) is known to have positive cardiovascular effects including increasing the “good” cholesterol, decreasing the “bad” cholesterol and increasing blood vessels flow.
After menopause, a fall in estrogen levels occurs and this is responsible for the jump in heart disease risk in women. 1
Over the age of 65, heart disease is the number one killer among women. Thus, Women of all ages should take heart disease seriously. 1, 2
Check your targets now! 3
Women at any age: Total Cholesterol < 200, HDL > 40
Women with heart disease or diabetes: LDL <100
Women with no heart disease or diabetes + 2 major risk factors*: LDL <130
Women with no heart disease or diabetes + <2 major risk factors*: LDL <160
To minimize your risks, you should target maintaining ideal body weight, exercising for 30-40 minutes, 3 to 5 times per week, following a diet low in saturated fat (< 7% daily amount) and high in fiber. 1
You should also consider complying with your medications for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. 1
*Major risk factors: age > 55; cigarette smoking; high blood pressure; < HDL; a father or brother with heart disease before age 55, or a mother or sister with heart disease before age 65.