Health » Cholesterol Levels Rise in Menopausal Women - Alva Carpenter

Cholesterol Levels Rise in Menopausal Women - Alva Carpenter

TAlva2 gifhe menopause is well known for hot sweats, sleepless nights and an increased risk of osteoporosis. Less well known by doctors and women is its link to increased cholesterol and the extent to which it can affect our hearts. A recent report highlights just this - bringing the statistic that women are nine times more likely to die of cardiovascular problems than breast cancer. 


Many women believe that heart problems caused by raised cholesterol levels are a problem that affects middle aged men but as oestrogen levels in women decrease cholesterol levels also increase. The problem is that gradual loss of elasticity and narrowing of the arteries can go unnoticed. These changes can make a person 20 years older than they appear outwardly. The symptoms develop silently until they are revealed in a medical check-up, or a heart attack occurs. But the good news is that there are many positive steps you can take to lower your cholesterol. So far there is a lot of focus on what you should not eat but by making small changes to your diet that become part of your daily routine you can help lower your cholesterol. 


So let’s explores the options available to help bring cholesterol levels down:


Key Tips for Health


Eat a low-fat diet. Cut down on saturated fats. Choose fats that are liquid at room temperatures, such as vegetable oils, olive oil, or rapeseed oil.

Eat foods that are high in fibre. Eat oats for breakfast.

Eat lots of fruit and vegetables.

Practice stamina building sports such as running and swimming.

Reduce stress.


A change in cooking habits is a major step, especially if you have someone who cooks for you. Check how much oil is used each week. You should not be able to see oil swimming on the top of food. 


What is Cholesterol all about? What Are the Main Things We Need to Know?


Cholesterol is something we all have in our bodies and we all need some to stay healthy. The liver produces cholesterol and it is used to make hormones, synthesise vitamins and aid in the structure of cell membranes. Saturated fat, the kind that is usually solid at room temperature, is found in large quantities in animal produce such as meat, cheese, cream, milk, eggs, butter, lard, ghee, milk chocolate, manufactured cakes, pasties, and biscuits. A diet high in this kind of fat can raise the levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the blood. A surplus of LDL cholesterol in the blood is a major factor in furring of the arteries and can lead to heart disease and strokes. If you have a family history of heart disease or raised LDL cholesterol levels, it is wise to avoid cholesterol-rich foods as much as possible. Statins are effective in lowering cholesterol and if your levels are very high you may need more than a lifestyle changes to keep you safe.

If you are worried about cholesterol or have a history of heart problems in your family contact your doctor and he will advise you. 


And if you are going through the menopause there is no need to suffer the many side effects associated with menopause like hot flushes and night sweats. There is an excellent supplement available called Pause & Go! that will relieve the symptoms after the first month; and after three months you will see a definite improvement in your whole feeling of well-being. Available from all Medicina pharmacies.


Low-Fat Recipe of the Month


Lebanese Yogurt and Cucumber Salad 

Serves 6



3 cups Yoghurt -- plain

12 Fresh mint leaves

2 Cloves garlic -- peeled

Salt -- to taste

2 - 3 cucumbers – peeled and thinly sliced



Drain the yoghurt in a cheesecloth-lined colander for several hours, discarding the liquid that has collected.  Place the mint and garlic together in a salad bowl and crush with a little salt. Add the drained yoghurt and cucumbers. Mix and chill before serving.

Ask Alva

Q: Since arriving in the Gulf five months ago I have been aware of massive hair fall and my hair is very dry and tangled. I wonder if it is to do with the heat, and the sand and the water? Melissa

A: Hair is in the Gulf is certainly affected by desalinated water, harsh desert sun, silica in the air, air-conditioning and extremes of temperature. Deficiencies in iron, zinc, B vitamins and vitamin C can also lead to hair loss. Zinc deficiency is responsible for variety of diseases, degenerative diseases and illnesses including hair loss. Zinc is needed for every cell in the body but many of us do not get enough of this vital mineral. When looking for good sources of zinc think protein. It is abundant in beef, pork, poultry, eggs and seafood. Other good sources include cheese beans nuts and wheat germ. Brazil nuts and almonds are excellent sources of zinc. You should also use Permea Plus Anti-Sal Shampoo as this will remove the harmful minerals in the water that lead to hair damage and hair breakage Alva

HEALTHLINES is a monthly column devoted to healthy living, diet and exercise. Reader’s questions (send them are appreciated and a selection will be replied to in the column by Alva Carpenter, a nutrition and fitness expert with long experience of health problems associated with Gulf countries.



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