Only one in five practice nurses are aware that women at menopause have an equal risk of cardiovascular disease as men, research reveals.
Experts analysed 150 UK GPs and practice nurses and found a clear need for healthcare professionals to routinely screen women aged over 45 years for raised cholesterol.
Heather Curie at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary in Scotland said: “As healthcare professionals, we have a duty to let menopausal women know that high cholesterol, triggered by the loss of estrogen, is a significant threat to health.
“We need to look beyond the short-term effects of the menopause to the more serious long-term metabolic changes.”
Only two in five women questioned were provided with advice on the menopause by their practice nurse, of these, less than 10% were advised to have a cholesterol check.
Christine Williams, professor of nutrition and dean of the faculty of life sciences at Reading University, said: “As well as not smoking and taking regular physical activity, the best advice we can give women is to replace the saturated, or hard fats, in their diet with a combination of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated vegetable oils.”