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Cholesterol Levels in Women Over 50

No matter how many commercials we see on the television warning us of the dangers of high cholesterol and how it is related to so many diseases, it doesn’t seem as though we are paying enough attention. According to the statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the number one cause of death in women over the age of 65 and the second leading cause in the next group down, women between the ages of 45 and 64. Added to that is the fact that high levels of LDL cholesterol is the leading cause of heart disease, you have a very real problem if those two conditions are met – being a women over the age of 50 with high levels of cholesterol.

What Contributes to Cholesterol Levels in Women Over 50?

Perhaps the two leading preventable causes of high cholesterol levels in women over 50 are lifestyle and eating habits. Anyone eating a diet rich in fats which are known to raise levels of low-density lipoprotein who lives a sedentary lifestyle is placing herself at risk. Of course some women are predisposed through family medical history to having high cholesterol no matter how they watch their diets or how much cardiovascular exercise they get, but these are not the bulk of women with high levels of cholesterol. Let’s face it, we live in a super-sized world of fat burgers and it’s hard to counteract that much fat taken in from just one meal.

How Is Cholesterol Measured?

This is the classic case of the good, the bad and the ugly. There are actually two kinds of cholesterol to be concerned with, HDL and LDL. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the good stuff that helps bring cholesterol to the liver where it is then eliminated from the body. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the bad stuff that forms plaque in the arteries and is a major cause of heart disease, among other potentially fatal diseases. Then there is the total cholesterol level you should be looking at as well s triglycerides. Each of these levels are assigned a number  stated as mg/dL which means ‘milligrams per Deciliter’ – not something you will probably ever be quizzed on, but you should familiarize yourself with the safety range of those numbers you are given.

Healthy Range of Cholesterol Levels in Women Over 50

Most often the only number we look at when given our cholesterol levels is the total cholesterol. It should be less than 200 which is the most desirable but anything between 200 and 239 is considered borderline high. If your total cholesterol level is over 240 you have a problem. Moving on to LDL, the optimal number is less than 100 but between 100 and 129 is considered to be borderline. High is when the number is 160 to 189 and very high would be anything over 190. Here again, anything over 190 means it’s time to see a doctor to lower those levels. HDL is the good stuff and you should have a range of over 40 and under 60. Triglycerides should be at 150 mg/dL to be considered normal while anything over 150 is borderline high all the way up to 500 which is very high.

These are just some rough parameters within which you should keep your cholesterol levels. The important thing to be aware of is whether or not you are at risk for high cholesterol based on weight, eating habits, lifestyle and of course, family history. Cholesterol levels in women over 50 are best determined by your doctor or health care professional. If there is a problem you may be placed on special diet, given medications and maybe even be placed on a specific exercise regimen. Don’t wait until it is too late. Have your cholesterol levels checked at least annually and more often if you are at risk.

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