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Men With High Cholesterol at a Great Risk Than Women

Update Date: Aug 16, 2013 01:10 PM EDT

Health conditions can affect people differently depending on factors such as, race, gender, and age. Understanding how these symptoms or manifestations vary between people is vital in providing good preventative measures and treatment options. In a new study, researchers from Norway found that middle-aged men with high cholesterol are at a greater risk of experiencing their first heart attack than women with the same health condition within the same age group.

For this study, the research team looked at data from the Second Nord-Trøndelag Health Study, which was a countywide survey, conducted from 1995 to 1997 in Nord-Trøndelag, Norway. There was over 65,000 people who were all younger than 40 when they participated in the survey. From this sample set, the researchers looked at 23,525 women and 20,725 men who fit the criteria of having high cholesterol.

"Our results suggest that in middle age, high cholesterol levels are much more detrimental for men than women, so that prevention efforts in this age group will have a greater potential to reduce the occurrence of a first heart attack in men," said Erik Madssen from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's (NTNU) Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, who was first author of the paper with Lars Erik Laugsand, also from NTNU.

The researchers followed the participants for 12 years and recorded that there were 157 new female cases of heart attacks. The number was almost five times that for men, with 553 of them suffering first time heart attacks. After these results, the research team conducted a secondary analysis with people older 60-years-old. This sample set was composed of 20,138 individuals. In this age group, however, the researchers did not find any thing conclusive in regards to the effects of high cholesterol.

"Our findings suggest that middle-aged men with an unfortunate cholesterol profile have a significant additional risk of myocardial infarction than what previously has been thought," Madssen and Laugsand said according to Medical Xpress. "Thus, these men should be treated more aggressively than what often is the case today, so that more infarctions can be prevented and lives can be saved."

The study was published in Epidemiology

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