By Ed Edelson
FRIDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) — Blood levels of LDL cholesterol, the bad kind that blocks arteries, go up sharply in women at the time of menopause, but there are no other dramatic changes in risk factors for heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems, a new study has found.
“This suggests that as women approach menopause, they need to have their lipid profiles checked,” said Karen A. Matthews, a professor of psychiatry, epidemiology and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and the study’s lead author. A report on the findings is published in the Dec. 15/22 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, which is focused on prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Two other studies reported in the same issue showed that higher doses of statins, drugs that lower LDL cholesterol levels, are more effective over the long run than lower doses in preventing heart attacks, other cardiovascular problems and premature death.
The menopause report is the latest from a study that has followed more than 3,000 American women since 1996, “trying to understand the changes women experience during life,” Matthews said. One major change is menopause, when menstruation stops as production of estrogen is reduced.