Australian women have, on average, higher cholesterol levels than men, according to the largest cholesterol study undertaken in general practice.
The findings reinforce calls for greater public awareness of female cardiovascular health.
The study, which included 200,000 patient records, found four out of five women aged 45 to 64 years had LDL-C (bad cholesterol) levels greater than 2.5 mmol/L and 34% had HDL-C (good cholesterol) levels below 1 mmol/L - both of which indicate an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
The average total cholesterol of middle-aged women was 5.5 mmol/L. This compared to an average of 5.3 mmol/L for middle-aged men. The average total cholesterol for women of all ages was also slightly higher than that of men.
CVD is the biggest cause of death in Australian women, and this data suggests there could be over a million middle-aged women and more than two million adult women living with cholesterol above ideal levels.
Specialists suggest that cardiovascular awareness campaigns should specifically target women as there is still a misplaced perception among women that cardiovascular disease was primarily a male concern and that it was not a greater risk than breast cancer.
Go to your GP, check your cholesterol levels and consider life insurance while it's not too late and not too expensive...