The Dangers Of High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is tough on arteries and your health. Here’s how to fight back.
When Ramona Richman’s older sister was diagnosed with high cholesterol, Richman wasn’t worried about her own risk. The San Francisco Bay Area stay-at-home mom had her weight under control and assumed that her diet was healthy. So when her doctor broke the news that she, too, had high cholesterol, she was shocked. Her reading of 269 mg/dL was well over the desirable level of less than 200 mg/dL. “My sister had high cholesterol and went on medication, so I imagine that it’s a genetic thing,” Richman, 48, says.
Genes can be a factor in high cholesterol, but so can being overweight, being physically inactive, and eating foods loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol. The liver manufactures all the cholesterol a body needs, but many people get substantial amounts from their diet. Regardless of the cause, high cholesterol poses dangers. It plays a major role in the development of atherosclerosis, or hardening and narrowing of the arteries, which in turn raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Know Your Numbers And What To Do About Them
When it comes to cholesterol, it’s important to know your numbers. Hyperlipidemia means your blood has too many lipids , such as cholesterol and triglycerides. One type of hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolemia, means you have too much non-HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in your blood. This condition increases fatty deposits in arteries and the risk of blockages.
Another way your cholesterol numbers can be out of balance is when your HDL cholesterol level is too low. With less HDL to remove cholesterol from your arteries, your risk of atherosclerotic plaque and blockages increases.
If youre diagnosed with hyperlipidemia, your overall health and other risks such as smoking or high blood pressure will help guide treatment. These factors can combine with high LDL cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol levels to affect your cardiovascular health. Your doctor may use the ASCVD Risk Calculator to assess your risk of a coronary event in the next 10 years.
The good news is, high cholesterol can be lowered, reducing risk of heart disease and stroke. If youre 20 years or older, have your cholesterol tested and work with your doctor to adjust your cholesterol levels as needed.
Often, changing behaviors can help bring your numbers into line. If lifestyle changes alone dont improve your cholesterol levels, medication may be prescribed. Lifestyle changes include:
Aggressively Lowering Cholesterol And Blood Pressure May Reverse Atherosclerosis In Adults With Diabetes
Aggressively lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels below current targets in adults with type 2 diabetes may help to prevent and possibly reverse hardening of the arteries, according to new research supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Hardening of the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis, is the number one cause of heart disease and can lead to heart attack, stroke, and death.
The three-year study of 499 participants is the first to compare two treatment targets for LDL cholesterol and systolic blood pressure levels, key risk factors for heart disease, in people with diabetes. Results are published in the April 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“This study provides good news for adults with type 2 diabetes,” said Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D., NHLBI director. “These patients are two to four times more likely than people without diabetes to die from heart disease. For the first time, we have evidence that aggressively lowering LDL cholesterol and blood pressure can actually reverse damage to the arteries in middle-aged adults with diabetes.”
On average, participants in both groups reached and maintained their target goals for blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels. The numbers of heart attacks and other cardiovascular events were similar between the two groups and lower than expected.
NIHTurning Discovery Into Health®
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What To Do When High Cholesterol Runs In Your Family
Because high cholesterol doesnt have any symptoms, its not something thats commonly on peoples radar. Even if it is, people often dont take it seriously until they have a heart attack or stroke. And while we tend to think of those events as happening to an older population, people under the age of 55 can also be affected, especially if they were born with high cholesterol.
This condition is called familial hypercholesterolemia . FH is an inherited disorder that makes it harder for your body to remove low-density lipoprotein cholesterol from your blood. The result? From childhood, cholesterol builds up along the walls of your arteries and veins, narrowing the passageways and drastically increasing your risk of heart attack or stroke at a very early age.
Focus On Fruits Vegetables Whole Grains And Beans
Our typical American diet is now abbreviated as SAD by scientists nationwide because its full of foods that do sad things to both hearts and waistlines. Hyperprocessed foods like potato chips and French fries. Sugar-saturated drinks. And fatty, artery-clogging meats and full-fat dairy foods like cheese.
We dont have to become complete vegetarians to get our cholesterol levels into healthy ranges, studies on the Pritikin Program have found, but clearly, the more vegetables, fruits, potatoes, and other naturally-fiber-rich plant foods we eat, the healthier well be.
Plant foods high in soluble fiber are especially beneficial in lowering total and LDL bad cholesterol levels. Good sources include beans , yams, oats , barley, and berries.
For simple tips on bringing more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans into your life, here is a 5-day sample healthy meal plan from the doctors and dietitians at Pritikin Longevity Center.
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Problems Caused By Statins
However, there are significant health issues from taking these drugs. 7% to 29% of patients are reported to develop muscle complaints while receiving statin treatment. These muscle issues can show up in a high percentage of people as simply weakness, without any pain or discomfort. Complaints are often made worse by exercise. Statins have been shown to reduce mitochondrial oxidative capacity and content in human muscle and impair mitochondrial adaptations needed in muscle during muscle activity. This issue of the statins causing weakening of muscles, is especially important as we try to have everyone increase their activity and exercise levels, to maintain health and longevity. This means that people on statins are less likely to be as active or exercise as much as they should be doing. And, most people tend to follow their doctors advice and take the statin medicine as prescribed.
What If Medication And Dietary Changes Dont Work
Surgery is considered aggressive treatment and is only performed if the blockage is life threatening and a person hasnt responded to medication therapy. A surgeon may either remove plaque from an artery, put in a stent, or redirect blood flow around the blocked artery.
Your healthcare professional may determine during a regular physical exam if you have risk factors for atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis tends to occur more commonly in people with a history of smoking or conditions such as:
Your healthcare professional may order tests, including:
- Imaging tests. An , , or a can allow your healthcare professional to see inside your arteries and determine the severity of the blockage.
- Ankle-brachial index. The blood pressure in your ankles is compared with the blood pressure in your arm. If theres an unusual difference, you might have .
- Cardiac stress tests. Your healthcare professional monitors your heart with an electrocardiogram while you engage in physical activity, like riding a stationary bike or briskly walking on a treadmill. Since exercise makes your heart work harder, it may help your healthcare professional find out if there is a blockage.
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Can You Tell Us About New Research In Cholesterol
We have begun to research how to prevent heart disease in patients under 40, which may reduce complications from heart disease in later adulthood. Preventing early atherosclerosis in young people is key. Atherosclerosis is the buildup of cholesterol on your artery walls. If left untreated, it can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
I have proposed a trial, called CURing Early ATHEROsclerosis . It suggests that if we intensify treatment by reducing “bad” cholesterol, the low-density lipoprotein , with medications, we may be able to eliminate plaque in the arteries during its early stages of development.
Which Pemfs Would Work Best
Since the effect of statins is on all the muscles in the body and felt most in the skeletal muscles being used during activity, any kind of PEMF may help, but whole body PEMFs, which cover a majority of the body muscles may be the most beneficial. Otherwise, small area PEMFs may still be able to help with smaller areas which may be affected most. Higher intensity PEMFs would work the best. Frequency is not likely to be that important, since most frequencies between 5-75 Hz will increase ATP.
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Can Side Effects From Statins Be Reversed I Have Muscle And Joint Pain
- 11 Apr 2015 by joyce valente
This Answer is NOT intended to replace your Doctor’s treatment.
However, many people are not aware there are alternatives to statins. I’ve had borderline to high BP for many years. I’ve resisted going on statins due to the many side effects I hear. My endocrinologist is always after me to lower my BP/cholesterol. I’ve been on diuretics for years and really don’t think they’ve done anything for me. My last reading a couple months ago was 178/90 … too high.
So I read about what natural products I could use … something few MD are going to know or tell you about. I came across very impressive reviews on policosanol .. a natural herb that comes from sugar cane. I bought a few bottles of 20mg and take one a day … it’s cheap! I got it at Swanson.
I find that taking coq10 daily really helped me with the side effects. They don’t just go away.
Yes but try coQ10 or ask to be switched to a different statin before you make a life altering change. Diet and exercise will only account for 10% and naicin will damage your stomach within 2 years because it is an acid and it only works at very high doses . Your doctor wouldn’t have prescribed it unless the benefit out weigh the risk. Pain will go away but a massive heart attack or stroke will not. Your an adult it’s your life or your funeral!
Lifestyle Changes To Prevent And Reverse Heart Disease
When it comes to heart disease, there are certain factors that you can and cant control. Things that you can control have an effect on both your HDL and LDL cholesterol levels:
- Diet. Eating a diet thats low in saturated fats can help to lower your levels of LDL.
- Exercise. Physical activity, even walking for 30 minutes a day, can help raise your HDL and lower your LDL levels.
- Weight. Being overweight may also have an effect on achieving optimal levels of HDL and LDL.
- Smoking. Smoking can damage your heart and blood vessel function, increasing your risk for atherosclerosis.
Things you cant control:
- Family history. High blood cholesterol may be genetically passed on through generations.
- Age. As women and men age, LDL cholesterol often increases.
There are medications available that can help lower cholesterol levels. Talk to your doctor for more information about cholesterol, as well as your personal risks and options.
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How To Prevent Complications
Garg emphasizes that to address or prevent any complications from high cholesterol, the first thing patients need to do is identify what about their lifestyle can be improved, with the help of their healthcare team. The American Heart Association recommends reducing saturated and trans fats in your diet focusing on fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein exercising at a moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes a week and losing excess weight.
Once we get beyond , then we start to talk about what medications we can use to further reduce risk, says Garg.
There are a number of cholesterol-lowering medications, according to the AHA. The most commonly prescribed are statins, which work in the liver to prevent cholesterol from forming and can help reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Others include PCSK9 inhibitors, selective cholesterol absorption inhibitors, bile acid sequestrants, niacin, and fibrates. Talk to your doctor about which medication or combination of medications is right for you.
Can High Blood Pressure Be Reversed
If you are reading this, then it is very likely that you are suffering from high blood pressure. It is very likely that you are fed up from the symptoms and from having to take your medication each day. Worst off, you are fed up from the side effects that the hypertension medications gives you such as impotence, cold hands and feet and much more. So you are wondering if your condition can reversed? Keep reading as I reveal the shocking truth.
High blood pressure is called the silent killer. That is because if often does not have any warning signs. Once you find out that you have hypertension, then it is too late to work on prevention. So the thing you have to do is actually find out what is it that caused your condition in the first place.
If you are over weight, considering losing a couple of pounds. 5 to 10 pounds can make a huge difference. By losing some weight, you can reduce the pressure that the fat puts on the blood vessels. If you lose some fat, you will give your vessels more room to expands. Your heart will not have to work as hard to pump blood around and your over all health will improve.
Other factors that contribute to this health condition is tress. Yes it sound unbelievable but it is true. The stress in your life can raise your hypertension levels.
right now to visit and learn how to reverse hypertension and live a stress free life without having to consume pills every day for your current condition.
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Genetic And Acquired Causes Of High Cholesterol
When high cholesterol is the result of genetics, its known as familial hypercholesterolemia. It may be caused by a mutation in the LDL-receptor gene that causes LDL cholesterol levels to rise above 19 mg/dL. This genetic defect accounts for at least 85 percent of familial hypercholesterolemia. Two other common genetic causes of high cholesterol include mutations in apolipoprotein B and in a gene known as PCSK9.
The most common cause of high cholesterol, though, is the combination and interaction of unidentified genetic factors and a range of lifestyle factorsmost importantly, a lack of exercise and a poor diet. Lifestyle choices that lead to high cholesterol are known as acquired causes.
In addition to genes and lifestyle factors, secondary causes of high cholesterol may include:
- Certain medications, including some immunosuppressants and diuretics.
Ask About Cholesterol Medication
Cholesterol medications such as statins may be the fastest way to lower cholesterol for some people usually within 6 to 8 weeks. This allows a person to quickly reduce their heart disease risk while cultivating a healthy lifestyle. During this period, a person can focus on lowering cholesterol over time with lifestyle and dietary changes.
Because high cholesterol is a risk factor for serious heart health issues, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology recommend statins for many groups of people with high LDL cholesterol.
If LDL cholesterol does not drop enough with diet and lifestyle changes and statins, a person might need additional medications.
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The Key Is Lowering Ldl And Making Lifestyle Changes
High blood levels of cholesterol encourage the formation and growth of vascular plaques that put you at risk for . So, can we reduce plaque buildup? “Making plaque disappear is not possible, but we can shrink and stabilize it,” says cardiologist Dr. Christopher Cannon, a Harvard Medical School professor.
Plaque forms when cholesterol lodges in the wall of the artery.
Natural Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol Levels
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Cholesterol is made in your liver and has many important functions. For example, it helps keep the walls of your cells flexible and is needed to make several hormones.
However, like anything in the body, too much cholesterol creates concerns.
Like fat, cholesterol does not dissolve in water. Instead, to move around the body, it depends on molecules called lipoproteins. These carry cholesterol, fat, and fat-soluble vitamins in your blood.
Different kinds of lipoproteins have different effects on health. For example, high levels of low-density lipoprotein results in cholesterol deposits in blood vessel walls, which can lead to (
- heart attack
- kidney failure
In contrast, high-density lipoprotein helps carry cholesterol away from vessel walls and helps prevent these conditions (
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Cholesterol And Liver Health
Researchers have discovered that consuming foods rich in sugar and fat can have an impact on both cholesterol and liver health. Interestingly enough, these two factors can easily influence one another:
- When the liver suffers any form of damage, as mentioned above, it cannot perform its most important roles, such as helping the body get rid of excess cholesterol.
- If you have a diet rich in high cholesterol this can lead to fat being formed around the liver, which in turn leads to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.