What a shock: Your LDL is off the charts, thanks to menopause, even though you’ve been exercising and eating healthy foods. Here’s what to do.
Menopause can cause LDL (the bad cholesterol) to increase quite a bit.
This can occur in women who’ve already been exercising, eating healthfully, not smoking and even taking heart healthy supplements such as garlic and fish oil.
So what can you do about this?
“The simplest answer to the question about ways to reduce rising LDL levels [aside from exercise, diet, supplements and abstaining from bad health habits] is nothing,’” says Monica Reynolds, MD, a cardiologist with ColumbiaDoctors Medical Group in White Plains, NY.
“Genetics play a large part in this as well as lifestyle and diet,” says Dr. Reynolds.
She points out that some women have high LDL despite healthy diet and exercise, and some women have low LDL even though they don’t exercise and don’t have a good diet.
“Bottom line – do what you can – use common sense (so lacking in this world today). Sometimes statin therapy is needed.
“But not every person with an elevated LDL needs a statin. Each patient must be evaluated in relation to his/her other risk factors, comorbidities, age, etc.”
How to Make Your Diet As Heart Healthy As Possible
• You may not be eating as healthfully as you think. Make sure your food, including condiments and seasonings, does not contain trans fats (also known as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or shortening).
• Get seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
• If you’re overweight, lose the excess pounds. Even 30 pounds of excess weight can negatively affect LDL cholesterol.
• If you haven’t been strength training, get started, This will help shed excess weight.
• Limit processed foods. For example, eat whole potatoes from the produce section rather than from a can.
Since 1992 Dr. Reynolds has practiced clinical cardiology at ColumbiaDoctors Medical Group, one of the largest multi-specialty practices in New York State.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.