Mitigating Cholesterol risks in menopause

The menopause brings about many physical changes, some more noticeable than others.

High cholesterol may not come to mind as readily as issues like hot flashes or mood changes when we think of the menopause, but it’s an important health marker to keep in mind.

As women enter menopause, cholesterol levels can jump by as much as 15%.  But this change often goes unnoticed among all the other physical symptoms commonly associated with this life stage. Cholesterol is a key health indicator, and it’s important to be aware of changes which could increase the risks of cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks and stroke.

As we get older, there are lots of factors that contribute to raising cholesterol. Sedentary lifestyles, weight gain, and poor diets are all common causes. But for women going through the menopause, the drop in oestrogen is another key driver.

"With GP waiting times increasing in many practices, and appointments for non-urgent care more difficult to access, private blood testing is becoming a common alternative for many people looking to take control of their health.”

Keeping an eye on changes

As we get older, there are lots of factors that contribute to raising cholesterol. Sedentary lifestyles, weight gain, and poor diets are all common causes. But for women going through the menopause, the drop in oestrogen is another key driver.

Prior to menopause, women tend to have healthier levels of cholesterol on average, compared to men. But when menopause begins, that often tends to change, with women in their 60s and 70s generally at similar risk levels to men when it comes to cardiovascular disease.

The role of oestrogen

Researchers are still studying the effects of oestrogen on cholesterol, but it’s understood that cholesterol levels rise and fall as oestrogen levels fluctuate during the menstrual cycle.

Once the body stops producing as much oestrogen, we start to see a rise in levels of “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins, or LDL) and a decline in “good” cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins, or HDL).

Getting tested

The only way to know your cholesterol levels around menopause is with a blood test. But it can be difficult to get the timing right as it’s not always clear that you’re in menopause.

With this in mind it’s a good idea to at least follow the guidance and recommendation that you get tested every five years, starting at age 20. If you have a family history of high cholesterol, or you’ve noticed significant changes to your weight, or stress levels, it’s worth getting tested more frequently.

Prioritising your health during menopause 

Menopause often falls during a stressful and busy period of life. With a career in full swing, children potentially flying the nest and older parents needing more support, there’s a lot to juggle. With so much demand on your time, it’s hard to make opportunities to exercise and eat well. And often, routine health checks also fall to the bottom of the priority list.

But this is the time when good routines and self-care are most important. Getting regular exercise, even just a little a day, and making good food choices, such as following a Mediterranean diet, can make a big difference to improving cholesterol levels and, in turn, heart health.

As we age, our metabolisms change, making it more difficult to lose those stubborn extra pounds, but it’s important to keep working to stay healthy, even if it takes a little longer to see the positive changes.

Checking your own cholesterol levels

If you’re concerned about your own cholesterol levels, a simple blood test can help give you peace of mind, providing you with all the information you need to take action and optimise your health.

Private blood testing is becoming a popular solution for a whole range of medical and diagnostic checks, for people who want quick access to important information about their health and wellbeing. And with our quick and convenient home-to-laboratory testing kits, getting that information is easy.

The Lipid Profile test is a quick and easy home-to-laboratory test which can provide the information you need, without a visit to the doctor or hospital. Our postal kits give you the opportunity to collect a blood sample in the comfort of your own home, at a time to suit you. Simply take your sample and return it to us for testing. Your results, which are emailed to you, can be used to seek the right treatment, as needed. 

Booking your private blood test at a local clinic

We make sure the experience of booking a private blood test is as easy, convenient, and painless as possible. By partnering with Spire Healthcare, we make the process simple and seamless by offering easy-to-book appointments at your local Spire Hospital. Here’s how it works:

After you have selected the right test for you, simply order online through our secure payment system or chat to a member of our team. Once your order is placed, you’ll receive all the information you need to arrange your convenient blood draw appointment at one of our Spire Hospital locations.

How your appointment works 

We partner with Spire Healthcare to offer a professional phlebotomy service. This guarantees that your blood samples are taken and handled correctly and that your results are processed efficiently by clinical professionals. Our confidential blood examinations are available at over thirty private clinics around the UK.

At your appointment, the friendly team will talk to you about your test, collect your blood sample and send it off for testing at an accredited partner laboratory. All you need to do is arrive for your appointment. We’ll take care of the test, and the rest.

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