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Menstrual Cycle Varies Cholesterol Levels

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Aging is one of those double-edged swords--the good news is that we get to live, the bad news is that some of the working parts begin to show just the teensiest bit of wear and tear and may need a little more care and maintenance to look (and work) quite they way that they used to. If you’re lucky, one year your doctor will look deep into your eyes and say “it’s about time we checked those cholesterol levels.” It’s then that you’ll know you’ve “arrived” at that “certain” age. (Why do they call it that “certain” age? I personally prefer being a “classic” age versus a “certain” age. Of course I’m certain of my age!)

High cholesterol (specifically low-density lipoprotein, commonly called LDL, or “bad” cholesterol) is one of the more well known risk factors for developing heart disease. Sooner or later, your doctor is going to want to evaluate your risk of heart disease. If you’re levels come back high, he/she will start taking a closer look at what’s going on under the covers.

What your doctor may not know is that where you are in your menstrual cycle may impact your cholesterol levels. In a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, researchers found real inconsistencies in cholesterol levels in women depending on where they were with respect to Mother Nature’s monthly visit. These variances in cholesterol levels were not minor little swings; we’re talking major differences in cholesterol levels. Researchers reported more than a 19 percent difference on average in cholesterol levels depending on where women were in relationship to phase of the cycle. Other findings included:

• HDL (high-density lipoprotein or the “good” heart protective) cholesterol levels increase as estrogen levels increase (estrogen levels are at their highest at the time of ovulation)
• LDL (low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol), triglycerides and total cholesterol levels go down when estrogen levels increase
• LDL, triglycerides and total cholesterol levels are at their lowest just before your monthly visitor comes to call

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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