Heart disease and stroke (cardiovascular disease) is the leading cause of death among women in Singapore, but many women are still unaware of this ‘silent killer’.
In 2009, less than 10 % of the women who took part in the Singapore Heart Foundation’s Go Red for Women Heart Health Awareness survey were aware of this important fact.
It is common knowledge that high cholesterol levels contribute significantly to heart disease. The risk for heart disease in women is lower than men during their childbearing years but rises sharply after menopause. This is due to the loss of oestrogen protection, as oestrogen lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) while raising HDL (good cholesterol).
When women enter menopause and oestrogen levels decline, this leads to an increase in levels of ‘bad cholesterol/LDL’. Hence, postmenopausal women then face similar risks of cardiovascular disease compared to men of the same age.
High cholesterol is only one of the many risk factors of cardiovascular disease.