Cholesterol levels increase in post-menopausal women

18 September 2019

Women who have gone through menopause may need to keep an eye on their cholesterol levels, according to new research from The Australian National University (ANU).

In a study of over 100,000 women, researchers found that post-menopausal women had higher cholesterol levels than premenopausal women.

Mr Ananthan Ambikairajah, a PhD Scholar from ANU, said the study found on average, post-menopausal women had above recommended levels of low density lipoproteins (LDL).

LDL helps carry fat molecules around the body and is often coined 'bad cholesterol'.

"We found post-menopausal women had higher cholesterol levels compared to premenopausal women," Mr Ambikairajah said. 

"These levels can put some women at higher risk of cardiovascular disease such as heart disease and stroke. 

"It could be really useful for post-menopausal women that have moderate risks - like obesity or low physical activity - to connect with their GP and get their LDL levels checked."

Mr Ambikairajah says more research needs to be done to find out why LDL levels increase after menopause.

"LDL has been deemed to be the bad cholesterol, while HDL, or high density lipoproteins, is considered the good cholesterol. But we do need both forms for our body to function," Mr Ambikairajah said.

"LDL profiles vary for all women, depending on their risk factors. If you have no risk of obesity or other coronary issues your LDL threshold might be higher than someone who is obese.

"This study shows postmenopausal women should check their LDL levels and see if they are at risk.

"Women can consult with their GP about what could be done to address these risks."

The study is published in Menopause on 18 September.