Raising HDL cholesterol in women
Danny J Eapen1, Girish L Kalra1, Luay Rifai1, Christina A Eapen2, Nadya Merchant1, Bobby V Khan1
1Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA; 2University of South Florida School of Medicine, Tampa, FL, USA
Abstract: High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) concentration is essential in the determination of coronary heart disease (CHD) risk in women. This is especially true in the postmenopausal state, where lipid profiles and CHD risk mimic that of age-matched men. Thus, interventions designed to reduce CHD risk by raising HDL-C levels may have particular significance during the transition to menopause. This review discusses HDL-C-raising therapies and the role of HDL in the primary prevention of CHD in women. Lifestyle-based interventions such as dietary change, aerobic exercise regimens, and smoking cessation are initial steps that are effective in raising HDL-C, and available data suggest women respond similarly to men with these interventions. When combined with pharmacotherapy, the effects of these lifestyle alterations are further amplified. Though studies demonstrating gender-specific differences in therapy are limited, niacin continues to be the most effective agent in raising HDL-C levels, especially when used in combination with fibrate or statin therapy. Emerging treatments such as HDL mimetic therapy show much promise in further raising HDL-C levels and improving cardiovascular outcomes.
Keywords: high-density lipoprotein, HDL, women, cholesterol, heart disease
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