Lipids and Women's Health: Recent Updates and Implications for Practice

Kathryn E. Fay*, Lauren A. Farina, Heather R. Burks, Robert A. Wild, Neil J. Stone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The obstetrician/gynecologist frequently serves as the primary care physician for women. Specialty-specific guidelines vary in screening recommendations for lipid disorders; women's health practitioners often follow recommendations to screen at age 45 in the absence of other risk factors. However, 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association cholesterol guidelines recommend screening at age 21 to capture those at risk of cardiovascular disease and allow for early intervention with lifestyle and, in the most severe cases, evidence-based statins. We discuss the care of women who primarily benefit from screening: those with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), those with the metabolic syndrome (MetS) or polycystic ovary syndrome, and those with hypertriglyceridemia. Those with FH have elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol from birth and a propensity for premature coronary heart disease. Early recognition of FH can allow risk-reducing interventions, as well as identification of additional affected relatives. Early detection of metabolic variables, such as in the MetS and hypertriglyceridemia, can lead to an enhanced focus on physical activity and heart-healthy diet. Finally, we discuss a practical approach to lipid management and review concerns regarding drug safety. Our objective is to provide a current overview of cardiovascular risk factor optimization that women's health practitioners can use in identifying and/or treating patients at risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)752-760
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019


  • familial hypercholesterolemia
  • guidelines
  • lipids
  • metabolic syndrome
  • prevention
  • statins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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