Related Topics: Features, Menopause, Natural Progesterone, Strokes

High Cholesterol Can Lower Your Stroke Risk

In menopause when you put on a few pounds you are likely to be told to lose weight by your doctor and certainly warned against high cholesterol. New research from Norway could change that.

AnnA Rushton

I have always loved Norway as a country, and am now even keener as it is their researchers who have proved a theory I have been trying to convince my GP of for several years.  Lowering cholesterol levels will not reduce your risk of a stroke.

A recent study by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology says that women with high cholesterol live longer and suffer from fewer heart attacks and strokes than those with lower cholesterol. Nor is this one of those ’20 women and a few unfortunate mice’ type of study that is sadly all too common.

They looked at 52,087 individuals between the ages of 20 and 74. After adjusting for factors like age, smoking and blood pressure, they found that women with high cholesterol (more than 270 mg/dl) had a 28 percent lower mortality risk than women with low cholesterol (under 193 mg/dl). Risk for heart disease, cardiac arrest and stroke also declined as cholesterol levels rose.

The researchers involved in the study admit this contradicts commonly accepted beliefs about cholesterol. They say current guideline information is misleading because the role of cholesterol in heart disease is overestimated.  I have always understood that the role of cholesterol in heart disease in women is certainly not the deciding factor as it can be for men. That is how the statins market has been developed, but their effectiveness and reason for prescribing will have to be rethought.

Of course having very high cholesterol levels is not ideal: just as with our hormones we need to strike a balance. There are other contributing factors to heart disease such as stress, lifestyle and diet which are certainly the more natural way to begin looking at very high cholesterol levels.

As Dr John Lee pointed out may years ago, progesterone increases the burning of fat for energy and has anti-inflammatory effects: two factors that are protective against heart disease.  It also protects the integrity and function of the cell membranes and promotes better sleep patterns, which helps us cope with stress.

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Please feel free to discuss this article in the comments section below, but note that the author cannot respond to queries made there.
Comments 5
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Janeclaire | 7:51 pm, April 17th, 2014


AnnA Rushton | 5:02 pm, April 17th, 2014

This is not information we have Jane but you could apply directly to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology at Trondheim who may be able to help you.

Janeclaire | 2:59 pm, April 17th, 2014

Interesting but doesn’t go deep enough – it is the ratio of HDL to LDL that is the problem. If LDL is to relatively high then it supposedly contributes to heart disease. So did this study look at the ration in high cholesterol people?

Lyudmila | 10:58 pm, August 11th, 2012

Some people rsnpoed to aspirin, even low dose aspirin, by losing small amounts of blood in there gastrointestinal tract. Over a prolonged period of time this can cause iron deficiency and anemia. However anemia can be caused by many different things and the etiology would have to be confirmed before steps are taken to correct it. If this is iron deficiency and you are losing blood in your stool the alternatives would be to stop the aspirin, or to have your upper and lower bowel evaluated for possible causes or predisposing conditions that may be independently treated. Finally if tests are negative and you elect to continue low dose aspirin because of the high cardiovascular risk you can take iron supplements and monitor your blood count periodically. The key is to define the type and cause for the anemial.

jr | 3:16 pm, November 30th, 2011

An interesting point Anna, and there now appears to be clinical evidence that backs it up. That major trial of Niacin that was halted early showed that Nicain was even more effective than a statin at lowering bad cholesterol, raising the good, and lowering triglycerides. But alas, heart attacks were not prevented and stroke risk DOUBLED. For women, stroke risk is almost always related to uncontrolled high blood pressure

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