New York, June 28(Indilens Web Team): Women face a higher risk of heart disease because of change of hormone levels during the transition to menopause, says a study. As hormone levels change, the quality of a woman’s cholesterol carriers degrades, leaving her at a greater risk of heart disease, the findings showed.
We found that lower levels of estradiol, one of the main hormonal changes that marks menopause, are associated with low quality cholesterol carriers, which have been found to predict risk for heart disease, said Samar R. El Khoudary, assistant professor at Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health in the US.
Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream in small particles called lipoproteins, or cholesterol carriers. Conventional blood tests show the amount of cholesterol carried by these lipoproteins, rather than the characteristics of the lipoproteins themselves.
There are two major types of lipoproteins: high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which helps keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries, and low density lipoprotein (LDL), the main source of cholesterol build up and blockage in the arteries.
For the new study that involved 120 women, researchers used nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to measure the size, distribution and concentration of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol in the blood.
The researchers found that as estrogen levels fall, women have higher concentrations of low-quality, smaller, denser LDL and HDL particles, which are associated with greater risk of heart disease.
Our results suggest that there may be value in using advanced testing methods to evaluate changes in cholesterol carriers’ quality in women early in menopause so that doctors can recommend appropriate diet and lifestyle changes, El Khoudary noted.
The study appeared in the Journal of Lipid Research.