Change The Way You Eat
One of the contributing factors in the development of high blood cholesterol is a diet high in saturated fat, which is a form of fat typically found in foods that come from animal sources, including beef, pork, poultry, and dairy products like cheese and milk. Saturated fat can also be found in processed food and snacks like chips, cookies, and doughnuts.
To cut out saturated fat and eat in a way that will help lower your LDL cholesterol levels, switch to a plant-based diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The Mediterranean diet is one such plant-based diet thats rich in nutrients and phytochemicals. The diet includes healthy fats such as olive oil and fish, but plant-based foods make up the bulk of each meal. Red meat is limited to no more than a few times a month. This diet originated in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, where theres significantly lower incidence of heart disease.
High Cholesterol And Obesity
Understanding why some people have high cholesterol and some do not has a lot to do with the interplay of your genes coupled with your environment. Your genes and your environmentin this case, what you eat and how much you exercisecombine to form a baseline risk for developing high cholesterol. If you eat a diet that is high in fat, like high-fat meats, fried foods and high-fat cheeses, you are increasing your risk of both obesity and high cholesterol.
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What Happens If You Have High Cholesterol
What does high cholesterol mean?
High cholesterol means there is too much cholesterol in your blood. This can clog up your arteries the large blood vessels that carry blood around your body. Over time, this can lead to serious problems.
How does cholesterol clog up your arteries?
Excess cholesterol can be laid down in the walls of your arteries. Fatty areas known as plaques can form, and these become harder with time, making the arteries stiffer and narrower. This process is called atherosclerosis.
When the arteries become narrower, its harder for blood to flow through them. This puts a strain on your heart because it has to work harder to pump blood around your body. Eventually, the heart can become weak and cant work as well as it should.
Blood clots can form over the fatty, hardened parts of the arteries. The blood clots can block the artery completely, cutting off the blood flow. Bits of the blood clots can break away and become lodged in an artery or vein in another part of the body, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.
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Cholesterol Deposits On Your Skin
Some people with high cholesterol develop cholesterol nodules or deposits on their skin called xanthomas. The most common locations for xanthomas are on the inner corners of the eyelids near your nose and are only cosmetic problems. Xanthomas can also form on your elbows, knees, arms, and legs.
You can get xanthomas removed, but they can grow back.
Can High Cholesterol Cause A Stroke
Yes, if you have high cholesterol, youre at risk of stroke due to the excess cholesterol circulating in your blood, according to the AHA.
LDL builds up in your arteries, where it slows or blocks the flow of oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to your body, including your brain. As arteries narrow and stiffen, blood clots may form a blockage, which can cause a stroke if it travels to the brain.
Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and one of the main causes of disability, according to the American Stroke Association. But it can be mostly preventable keeping your cholesterol levels down is one way to cut your risk.
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What Causes High Cholesterol
Your liver produces cholesterol, but you also get cholesterol from food. Eating too many foods that are high in fat can increase your cholesterol level.
Being overweight and inactive also causes high cholesterol. If you are overweight, you most likely have a higher level of triglycerides. If you never exercise and arent active in general, it can lower your HDL .
You family history also affects your cholesterol level. Research has shown that high cholesterol tends to run in families. If you have an immediate family member who has it, you could have it, too.
Smoking also causes high cholesterol. It lowers your HDL .
How To Lower Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medications or both.
Here are some ways to manage your cholesterol.
Eat heart-healthy food
What you eat can make a big difference to your cholesterol levels.
Cut back on foods high in saturated fats like:
- oily fish.
Drink less alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can increase your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. So drinking less is a good way to lower your cholesterol.
The Ministry of Health recommends no more than 10 standard drinks per week for women and no more than 15 for men. One standard drink is equal to:
- a standard can of 4% beer
- a small glass of wine
- a small single shot of spirits
If you have high cholesterol or you’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition, you may need to drink less than this.
Smoking makes your LDL cholesterol stickier and reduces the amount of HDL cholesterol in your blood. It also damages the artery walls. This increases the build-up of plaque in your arteries and can cause risk of heart attack and stroke.
Quitting smoking is a great way to lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Sitting less and being more active are great ways to reduce high cholesterol.
This doesnt mean you have to join a gym or take up running it just means you need to move your body more throughout the day. Ideally you should do 30 minutes of activity a day.
You could try:
Read more about the benefits of exercise.
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How To Improve Your Sleep
To help you get the right amount of high-quality sleep each night:
- Set daily times to go to bed and wake up.
- Plan to sleep at least 7 but no longer than 8 hours per night.
- Donât get less sleep on weeknights then try to catch up on weekends.
- Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet. If it helps, turn on a fan, install light-blocking curtains or shades, and use earplugs.
- Read a book or take a bubble bath to relax before bedtime.
- Donât leave your smartphone next to your bed. You may be tempted to pick it up and scan your email or social media.
- Donât go to bed hungry or too soon after youâve eaten a heavy meal.
- Cut back on alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine products that can ruin sleep.
- Before bed, ease stress and muscle tension with gentle stretches.
- If youâre stressed about the next day, write in a journal or fill out your to-do list, then put it in the nightstand drawer. You can tackle it the next day.
What about sleeping pills? Medications can help you get rest during a stressful period or when travel upsets your regular schedule. But for the long term, healthy habits are the best way to promote a good nightâs sleep. But if you often have trouble sleeping, see your doctor. They can examine you to find out the causes of your problems. They may prescribe medication to help you get the rest you need.
Who Should Be Tested
Your GP may recommend that you have your blood cholesterol levels tested if you:
- have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, stroke or mini-stroke , or peripheral arterial disease
- are over the age of 40 people over 40 should have their estimate of CVD risk reviewed regularly
- have a family history of early cardiovascular disease for example, if your father or brother developed heart disease or had a heart attack or stroke before the age of 55, or if your mother or sister had these conditions before the age of 65
- have a close family member who has a cholesterol-related condition, such as familial hypercholesterolaemia
- are overweight or obese
- have high blood pressure or diabetes
- have another medical condition, such as kidney disease, an underactive thyroid, or an inflamed pancreas these conditions can cause increased levels of cholesterol or triglycerides
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Can You Treat High Cholesterol
With proper treatment and diet and lifestyle changes you can get your cholesterol back to a healthy level. On the other hand, if high cholesterol remains untreated you could develop coronary artery disease , peripheral arterial disease and/or suffer a heart attack, stroke or transient ischemic attack . There are many secondary issues that can arise from high cholesterol, such as PAD. 20% of people with PAD suffer a nonfatal heart attack within 5 years.
When Should My Cholesterol Levels Be Tested
Your GP may recommend that you have your blood cholesterol levels tested if you:
- have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, stroke or mini stroke , or peripheral arterial disease
- have a family history of early cardiovascular disease
- have a close family member who has a cholesterol-related condition
- are overweight
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Why Do High Cholesterol Symptoms Develop
What is lipid homeostasis? Human lipid homeostasis is a stable & balanced fat metabolism in the body.
To maintain healthy cholesterol range body needs to carry out more complex interactions. Any disturbance to this homeostasis leads to various high cholesterol symptoms.
Why cholesterol patients have loose stool?
STOMACH pain, diarrhea, and nausea are all symptoms of gallstones – hard particles formed of cholesterol that develop in the gallbladder also, fat metabolism problems due to digestion, absorption, and or stool consistency disturbance.
Why cholesterol patients have a lack of appetite?
Chronic poor appetite or lack of appetite medically referred to as anorexia. Any persisting lack of appetite should be evaluated. Causes of loss of appetite include pregnancy, metabolic problems, liver disease, hepatitis, hypothyroidism, kidney problem, heart failure, and antibiotic use.
Why cholesterol patients experience chest or stomach distension?
Intestinal inflammation and small bowel bacterial overgrowth may lead to excess intestinal gas. This excess gas leads to chest and stomach distension.
Why cholesterol patients experience pains ?
Intestinal inflammation and small bowel bacterial overgrowth may lead to excess intestinal gas. This gas has the characteristic of moving everywhere and cause pain where it resides this causes aching pain.
Why high cholesterol causes tiredness or fatigue?
Why high cholesterol have symptoms of eyes?
Why high cholesterol have symptoms on the skin?
How Sleep And Lifestyle Factors May Affect Lipids
Although there appears to be a connection between sleep and high lipid levels, other sleep-related issues could contribute to high cholesterol, too.
For example, there is a circular relationship between stress and sleep. While high stress can interrupt sleep, loss or lack of sleep can also increase stress levelsand stress has been connected to cholesterol. In addition, lack of sleep can lead to overeating and eating more poorly, as well as skipping exercise.
All of these factors may contribute to increasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as the risk of developing heart disease.
In addition, reduced sleep is thought to modify such hormones as leptin and ghrelin, both of which are connected to appetite, food intake, and obesity. It is also thought that less sleep may increase levels of cortisol, which could lead to the inflammation that contributes to heart disease.
The connection between high lipid levels and sleep that exceeds eight hours is not fully understood.
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Does Stress Cause High Cholesterol
While stress is not a primary cause of high cholesterol, it may still have an effect on cholesterol levels. A study published in May 2017 in the journal Medicine found that in people who experienced stress due to work or personal conflict, higher stress was a risk factor for high cholesterol. And when you are feeling stressed and pressed for time, you may be less likely to follow heart-healthy lifestyle measures, such as eating a nutritious diet and getting exercise. The 2017 study found that regular physical exercise had a strong protective effect against cholesterol.
Why Take A Statin
Its not that elevated cholesterol is bad, its the consequences associated with high cholesterol levels that are bad. Cholesterol medications are prescribed to help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular or heart disease continues to be the number one cause of death in the world. But as youll soon see, taking a statin may not actually lower your risk of heart disease at all!
You likely grew up hearing that fat was bad. Eating foods like butter, bacon, and red meat would raise your cholesterol levels and thus increase your risk of dying from a heart attack. But recent research is suggesting that this simply isnt true.
A meta-analysis of more than 23 difference studies showed that low-carb diets actually have beneficial effects on your health . And a massive study of more than 600,000 participants found that high levels of saturated fat consumption were not connected to cardiovascular disease. For a deeper dive into the connection between cholesterol and heart disease, check out this article.
In summary, you were prescribed a statin medication to help lower your cholesterol. Which was thought to lower your risk of heart disease. But new research suggests that just may not be as irrefutable as we once thought.
Instead, your cholesterol medication could be adding to your fatigue!
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Can I Live Long With High Cholesterol
Untreated or undertreated high cholesterol is associated with a lower life span due to the risk of heart attack and stroke, but its still possible to live a long life with high cholesterol, provided you follow a heart-healthy lifestyle and take medication if needed. According to a study published in April 2018 in the journal Circulation, a healthy lifestyle defined as not smoking, doing moderate exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and following a healthy diet was associated with an average of 14 more years of life for women and 12 for men.
Additional reporting by Erica Patino
How Can I Lower My Cholesterol Naturally
For many people, revamping everyday habits can go a long way toward lowering cholesterol without medication. There are a number of lifestyle changes that can be made, and they fall under the categories of diet and exercise, says Dr. Khandwalla.
Eating heart-healthy foods is a great place to start. This means reducing your intake of red meat and full-fat dairy products, both of which contain saturated fats that raise cholesterol. Instead, focus on eating lean proteins chicken, turkey, seafood and adding more soluble fiber to your diet from fruits, vegetables, and oatmeal, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute . Getting aerobic exercise most days of the week can also help lower cholesterol.
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The Johns Hopkins Digestive Weight Loss Center
High cholesterol, or dyslipidemia, means that there is an imbalance of fats , circulating in your blood stream. Cholesterol is a fatty substance your body uses to make hormones and metabolize food.Doctors use three different measurements to determine your overall lipid health:
Dangers Of Statin Drugs: What You Havent Been Told About Popular Cholesterol
Hypercholesterolemia is the health issue of the 21st century. It is actually an invented disease, a problem that emerged when health professionals learned how to measure cholesterol levels in the blood. High cholesterol exhibits no outward signsunlike other conditions of the blood, such as diabetes or anemia, diseases that manifest telltale symptoms like thirst or weaknesshypercholesterolemia requires the services of a physician to detect its presence. Many people who feel perfectly healthy suffer from high cholesterolin fact, feeling good is actually a symptom of high cholesterol!
Doctors who treat this new disease must first convince their patients that they are sick and need to take one or more expensive drugs for the rest of their lives, drugs that require regular checkups and blood tests. But such doctors do not work in a vacuumtheir efforts to convert healthy people into patients are bolstered by the full weight of the US government, the media and the medical establishment, agencies that have worked in concert to disseminate the cholesterol dogma and convince the population that high cholesterol is the forerunner of heart disease and possibly other diseases as well.
The drugs that doctors use to treat the new disease are called statinssold under a variety of names including Lipitor , Zocor , Mevacor and Pravachol .
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