High Cholesterol and The Sexes

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Story Updated: Aug 29, 2013

If you're a man...with high cholesterol...listen up...you're more than three times more likely to have a heart attack than a woman with high cholesterol.

That's the headline from a new study conducted in Norway. Researchers analyzed health information from nearly 45,000 people who underwent blood tests as part of a national survey in the 1990s. All were 60 years and younger at the start. 23,525 women and 20,725 men were then followed for about a dozen years. During the monitoring period...over 5-hundred men had heart attacks, while just 1-hundred-57 women had one.

Breaking it down to specific factors and the impact on risk of heart attack, the researchers found that middle-aged men with high cholesterol were at far greater risk for cardiac issues - much higher than previously thought. They theorize female sex hormones may protect women from first heart attacks despite high cholesterol.

Currently, there's no difference in how men and women are treated for high cholesterol...but this study may spur more research into how medical care may be tailored by gender in the future.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the news that can help you stay healthy, happy, and fit.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com