Women experience many changes as they go through menopause. Some changes are obvious, such as the cessation of the menstrual cycle and accompanying hot flashes or night sweats. Other changes are not apparent to the individual, but can have long-term, even deadly, consequences.
Among them is the rise in cholesterol levels as the amount of estrogen hormone in a woman’s body decreases. That can lead to cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, the use of bioidentical hormones can improve cholesterol and decrease the risks of heart attack and other cardiovascular issues.
Estrogen reduces visceral fat which is a major source of cholesterol imbalance. Adequate levels of estrogen replacement can increase HDL, reduce LDL and reverse arterial plaque formation.
As estrogen levels drop in perimenopause – the decade or so before true menopause begins – and menopause, the levels of LDL, or low-density lipoproteins, rise. LDL is the “bad” cholesterol, as opposed to the “good” cholesterol, HDL, or high-density lipoproteins.
HDL cholesterols help remove the LDL version from the arteries and focus them toward the liver. At that point, the liver breaks the LDLs down and they are eliminated from the body. However, HDL cholesterols cannot do the job of eradicating LDLs on its own. HDL cholesterols carry only up to 1/3 of all blood, so at least 2/3 of a person’s blood supply is vulnerable to LDL, and in some individuals the percentage increases to ¾.
Triglycerides make up the most common form of body fat. If a person has low HDL cholesterol levels along with high LDL levels and high triglycerides, their risk of cardiovascular disease heightens.
Bioidentical hormones have the same molecular structure as the hormones produced naturally by the body. Unlike synthetic hormones, which consist primarily of pregnant mare’s urine – the so-called “conjugated equine estrogens – bioidentical hormones are made from vegetable products, particularly soy and wild yam.
Synthetic hormones are basically “one-size-fits-all,” while bioidentical hormones are prepared for each patient through a compounding pharmacy. Synthetic hormones actually increase the risk of cardiovascular incidents and cancer, while bioidentical hormones reduce these risks.
Bioidentical estrogen decreases fatty build-up in the arteries, lowering the odds for a number of cardiovascular diseases. The use of bioidentical hormones also increases the HDL cholesterol level while decreasing triglycerides.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is part of a holistic approach to health and wellness. Along with regular testing to determine the correct dosage of bioidentical hormones for a patient, the doctor also creates a nutrition and exercise program designed for heart and other types of health.
A diet containing plenty of fruits and vegetables and lean proteins helps keep LDL levels down. The doctor will recommend nutritional supplements that aid heart health.
Bioidentical hormones are available in oral, pellet (under the skin), topical and patch forms. In addition to lowering levels of bad cholesterol, bioidentical hormone therapy can help women dealing with other menopausal symptoms. These include:
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy not only reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, but helps prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and macular degeneration.
If you suffer from high cholesterol and would like to know whether bioidentical hormones replacement therapy could help, call Dr. Edward Jacobson’s office today and arrange a consultation.