Cholesterol Risks by Age Group

• Before puberty, there are no noteable differences between cholesterol levels of boys and girls.

• After puberty more estrogen is produced. Increased estrogen has been linked to decreased LDL (“bad cholesterol”) and increased HDL (“good cholesterol”). Men show no puberty related changes in cholesterol. During pregnancy, it is normal for a woman\’s total cholesterol level to increase significantly. This helps the fetus develop normally.

• Before menopause and mid-life changes, both men and women are at greater risk of developing coronary artery disease and carotid artery disease which can lead to heart attacks and strokes, respectively.

• Post menopause, women experience decreased production of estrogen, which decreases HDL (“good”) cholesterol and increases LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Men show no mid-life changes in cholesterol.

• After menopause, risk factors for developing coronary artery disease (CAD) in women change. Before menopause, high cholesterol was the greatest risk factor, but, after menopause, it is a low HDL (“good cholesterol”) level and high triglycerides level.

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