Statins: What Your Doctor Wont Tell You
Studies show statins do little ifanything to reduce your risk of heart disease. And they can have serious sideeffects. They raise your risk of diabetes, for one thing.
There are safe, natural drug-freealternatives to improve your cardiovascular health:
- Dumpsimple carbs and grains.They raise blood sugar, which releases insulin into your system. This leads toinflammation and heart disease. Stay away from sugar, bread, and pasta.
- Avoidthese oils.Corncanolavegetablesoybean. They all contain large amounts of omega-6 fattyacids that wreak havoc on the coronary system. Replace these with heart-healthyalternatives like organic extra virgin olive and coconut oil.
- Addantioxidants. Darkchocolate and red wine are loaded with them. Some of the best antioxidantsources include tart organic berries and leafy green vegetables. Tomatoes aregreat for cardiovascular health, too.
One more thing
For years, weve beenrecommending high-intensity interval training . Study after study hasshown that it can reverse poor cardiovascular health. HIIT improves heartfunction, increases elasticity of the arteries and heart, and boostscardiovascular oxygen intake.
The basic formula for HIIT issimple. Warm up for three to five minutesthen go hard for the next minute,longer if you can.
Then slow down to catch yourbreath for the next minute or two. Repeat this process five to seven times.Cool down for at least two minutes.
Very Low Ldl Cholesterol Clinical Assessment
- Acanthocytosis is a condition characterized by the abnormally-shaped or crenated red blood cells called acanthocytes
- Malabsorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K leading to deficiency of these vitamins in the body.
- Diarrhea and steatorrhea characterized by foul smelling, pale, and bulky stools Bulky stool.
- Hepatomegaly enlarged liver
- Neurological involvement due to demyelination of the nerves
- Myositis inflammation of the muscles
- Degeneration of the retina of the eyes
Making Sense Of Your Cholesterol Numbers
Its important to know your cholesterol levels and what they mean so you can take action to protect your heart health.
Good cholesterol, bad cholesterol, high LDL, low HDL: Understanding your cholesterol levels can be confusing. Even though its complicated, learning how to make sense of your cholesterol numbers is important. Its the key to knowing what steps you need to take to keep your heart healthy.
Unfortunately, high cholesterol has no warning signs. But if your levels of cholesterol a fat-like substance in the body are too high, that can seriously increase your risk of heart disease. Thats why certain blood tests are necessary to measure the amount of cholesterol in your blood. The earlier we can address cholesterol issues, the more likely we are to prevent the development of heart disease, says David Frid, MD, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic.
Cholesterol Tests and What They Mean
Its recommended that all adults older than 20 have a fasting lipoprotein profile, a blood test performed after 9 to 12 hours of fasting, once every five years. The test provides the following breakdown of your cholesterol in milligrams per deciliter of blood, or mg/dL:
2 Other Ways to Assess Cholesterol
Frid notes, however, that this test is expensive. In most cases, he believes doing a basic cholesterol test and knowing patients risk factors are enough.
Taking Control of Your Cholesterol Numbers
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Benefitsof High Hdl Cholesterol
for heart disease. It should be above 60 mg/dL, which can be accurately checked with a cholesterol test or lipid panel. Heart risk increases as HDL levels decrease it should not be less than 40 mg/dL.
Another benefit of high HDL is its ability torepair the endothelium or inner walls of blood vessels. Atherosclerosis canstart if those walls become damaged.
HDL also reduces, reuses, and recycles LDL at theliver. Excess LDL are then removed, storing whatevers left for later use.This, in conjunction with exercise, makes it an important cholesterol to haveat high amounts.
Aerobic exercise, tobacco cessation, and abalanced, healthy weight can keep HDL cholesterol high.
Aim for at least 40 minutes ofmoderate-to-vigorous exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, and cycling toraise good cholesterol levels. Giving up cigarettes will strengthen the bloodvessels, increase blood flow to the heart, and repair the damage done to theheart muscle. These should be consistently observed to protect the heart fromcardiovascular disease and other relevant conditions.
Causes Of Very Low Ldl Levels
Extremely low levels dont just come about due to cholesterol lowering drugs. There can be other causes as well. There are four major causes why your LDL levels can fall too low.
1. Iatrogenic, meaning due to cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins
2. Reduced production of LDL due to
- Liver disease
- Malabsorption such as celiac disease, where there is poor absorption from the gastrointestinal tract
- Malnutrition, inadequate intake of nutrition.
3. Increased clearance of LDL due to
Hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid gland causes cholesterol levels to drop to abnormally low levels.
4. Inherited: Low LDL Syndrome
- In Abetalipoproteinemia virtually no LDL cholesterol is present
- In familial hypobetalipoproteinemia the LDL cholesterol levels are extremely low.
These are rare genetic diseases that cause cholesterol readings to fall to dangerously low levels.
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Lowest Cholesterol Levels And The Cancer Risk
Studies carried out on patients with very low LDL cholesterol in the blood and who are not on cholesterol-lowering drugs suggest that such patients have 15 times the risk of developing cancer.
However, whatever studies conducted are only able to suggest and there is definite evidence to confirm the same.
How Do You Prepare For A Cholesterol Test
In most cases, youll need to fast for nine to 12 hours before the test. Make sure you tell the person drawing your blood how long it has been since you ate or drank anything that wasnt water.
There are some cases when a cholesterol test is done without fasting. This is true for tests done at health screenings and may be true for people younger than 20 or for people who are unable to fast.
Some medical societies believe that fasting is not necessary to get a true picture of lipid levels in the blood, while other associations stand by the belief that fasting gives a better idea of a persons heart disease risk. You should be clear on whether or not you need to fast, and for how long, before you go for the blood test.
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No Apparent Danger Of Very Low Ldl Cholesterol
LDL is a key component of many hormones and all cell membranes, which allow cells to communicate with each other. Earlier studies had raised concerns that lowering LDL too far might interfere with normal cellular functions, especially in organs that have higher lipid concentrations, such as the brain and reproductive organs. And there have been reports of a slightly increased risk of osteoporosis and brain bleeding in patients treated with high doses of statin medications.
Well-known side effects in people who use statin medications include muscle aches and a slightly increased risk of diabetes, especially when high doses of medication are used. Whether these risks are due to the statin medications themselves or the lowering of LDL is not entirely clear.
However, people with rare inherited disorders in which LDL levels are extremely low from birth appear to have normal fertility and no major organ dysfunction. Therefore, an extremely low LDL by itself does not appear to be dangerous in these unusual cases.
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Cholesterol levelscholesterol levelscholesterol levelsLDLsymptomsSymptoms of low cholesterolHere are some of the best morning foods for improving your numbers.
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Is Having Too Low Cholesterol Dangerous
In short, yes. Theres a reason your body makes cholesterol. You need it to maintain equilibrium in your body and stay healthy.
Cholesterol is a vital component found in every cell in our bodies. We need it to produce cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and for overall nerve function. When our cholesterol levels are too low, our bodies and brain pay the price. As the authors of this Psychology Today article so succinctly put it:
Low serum cholesterol has been linked in numerous scientific papers to suicide, accidents, and violenceand depleting the ability of the brain and body to make cholesterol through aggressive cholesterol-lowering medication could cause a change in how the brain works.
Your brain is made mostly of fat, and needs cholesterol to regulate your mood and help you think. Memory loss is another frequent side effect of statin use, most likely due to cholesterol levels being to low.
I dont know about you, but Id take higher cholesterol over cognitive decline any day.
How Is Very Low Ldl Cholesterol Treated
The first concern is to raise the LDL from +/- 40 mg/dL and bring it to at least around +/- 70 to 80 mg/dL. This will reduce the risk of the complications.
Early treatment in neonates can prevent the further progression of the neurological problems as well as the degeneration of the retina.
Vitamin E in the dose of 100 mg/body weight will set right the low vitamin E levels in the body tissues.
Plasma levels of tocopherol, however, may still be below the normal. Tocopherols are a member of the vitamin E family naturally present in vegetable oils, nuts, fish and leafy green vegetables.
Dietary fat is restricted to control steatorrhea.
Deficiency of vitamins A, D, and K is treated with replacement therapy.
Infants and children who are identified with homozygous FHBL or ABL require prompt treatment with very high doses of vitamin E. Heterogeneous patients require Vitamin E in modest doses
Adults may develop complications, which are treated according to the merits and demerits.
Dietary management consists of restricting intake of long-chain fatty acids to 15 g per day. This will improve the complications due to fat malabsorption.
Very large doses of oral vitamin E at 100-300 mg/kg/day t in homozygotes to avoid neurological problems. This will raise the tissue levels of vitamin E.
Heterogeneous adult patients require Vitamin E in modest doses
Vitamin A supplementation is given in cases where there is vitamin K depletion.
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Myth: I Dont Need Statins Or Other Medicines For My Cholesterol I Can Manage My Cholesterol With Diet And Exercise
Fact: Although many people can achieve good cholesterol levels by making healthy food choices and getting enough physical activity, some people may also need medicines called statins to lower their cholesterol levels. Guidelinesexternal icon also suggest that other medicines in addition to statins may be needed to help control cholesterol.2
People who may need statins or other medicines to manage cholesterol levels include the following:
- People with familial hypercholesterolemia or people with very high levels of bad cholesterol. FH is a genetic condition that causes very high LDL cholesterol levels beginning at a young age. If left untreated, cholesterol levels will continue to get worse. This greatly raises the risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke at a young age.
- People with cardiovascular disease . People with CVD may already have narrowed arteries because of too much plaque. Medicines that lower cholesterol may help reduce the risk for heart attack or stroke.
- People with diabetes.Type 2 diabetes lowers HDL or good cholesterol levels and raises bad cholesterol levels. This combination raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Other groups of people may also need medicines to manage their cholesterol, including people who have a high risk for CVD. Always talk to your health care provider about the best ways to manage your cholesterol.
How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed
You cant tell if you have high cholesterol without having it checked. A simple blood test will reveal your cholesterol level.
Men 35 years of age and older and women 45 years of age and older should have their cholesterol checked. Men and women 20 years of age and older who have risk factors for heart disease should have their cholesterol checked. Teens may need to be checked if they are taking certain medicines or have a strong family history of high cholesterol. Ask your doctor how often you should have your cholesterol checked.
Risk factors for heart disease include:
- Cigarette smoking.
- Having an immediate family member who has had heart disease.
- Being overweight or obese.
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Continue Learning About Cholesterol
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
Study Suggests Lower Ldl Cholesterol Is Better
A recent meta-analysis published in JAMA Cardiology suggests that it is both safe and effective to lower LDL below 70 mg/dL. The authors reviewed a large database of CVD patients with LDL levels averaging 70 mg/dL or less at the start of the studies. On average, there was a 20% drop in CVD risk seen for every 39 mg/dL drop in LDL cholesterol. In other words, a drop in LDL from 70 mg/dL down to 31 mg/dL was associated with 20% fewer CVD events such as heart attack or stroke.
The benefit was consistent regardless of the medications used to lower cholesterol. The JAMA Cardiology meta-analysis looked at studies in which LDL was lowered with a statin drug, which works by lowering LDL production in the liver, or with a different type of medication, including ezetimibe , which interferes with absorption of LDL from the intestine, or PCSK9 inhibitors, newer injectable medicines that increase uptake of LDL from the bloodstream into the liver. The drop in CVD risk was in line with previous studies of patients who started with LDL levels around 130 mg/dL, and saw a drop in CVD events of about 22% for every 39 mg/dL drop in LDL.
In this study, there was no increased risk of adverse outcomes , even when LDL was lowered to as low as 20 mg/dL. Although statin medications themselves have been linked to side effects, especially at high doses, it appears that extremely low LDL concentrations are not responsible for side effects.
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What Kind Of Test Measures Cholesterol
Everyone over the age of 20 should get their cholesterol levels measured at least once every five years. Your healthcare provider will order a blood test that will indicate how much cholesterol is carried in your bloodstream. This test will give your cholesterol levels. Your provider might also order what is called a lipid panel or a lipid profile. The panel gives you the following numbers:
- Total cholesterol.
- Non-HDL cholesterol.
- Ratio between cholesterol and HDL.
There are advanced tests that break down the size and shapes of LDL cholesterol levels, and also give the LDL particle number, but those are not normally ordered. Some test makers say that the more advanced tests are better at indicating who is at risk for heart disease, but most providers still feel that the usual tests are adequate.
What Does Low Vldl Mean
This test measures the amount of very low-density lipoprotein in your blood. VLDL cholesterol is a type of blood fat. It’s considered one of the “bad” forms of cholesterol, along with LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. This is because high levels cholesterol can clog your arteries and lead to a heart attack.
Additionally, what is a good level of VLDL? VLDL contains the highest amount of triglycerides. VLDL is considered a type of bad cholesterol, because it helps cholesterol build up on the walls of arteries. Normal VLDL levels are from 2 to 30 mg/dL .
Similarly, can VLDL cholesterol be too low?
It’s possible for cholesterol to be too low. However, this is much less common than high cholesterol. High cholesterol is strongly associated with heart disease, but low cholesterol may be a factor in other medical conditions, such as cancer, depression, and anxiety.
How do you increase VLDL cholesterol?
The best way to lower your VLDL cholesterol is to lower your triglycerides. Losing weight and exercising regularly are key, and you might also want to avoid sugary food and alcohol in particular. Medications also can help.
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How Is High Cholesterol Treated
There are several ways to lower high blood cholesterol , including lifestyle changes or medication, or both. Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine which therapy is best for you.
Healthcare providers like to start with the least invasive treatments when possible, such as lifestyle changes. Youll be advised to:
- Avoid tobacco. If you do smoke, quit. Smoking is bad for you in many ways, and reducing your level of good cholesterol is one of them.
- Change the way you eat. Limit the number of trans fats and saturated fat. Eat heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish and whole grains. Limit red meat, sugary products and dairy products made with whole milk.
- Get more exercise. Try to get about 150 minutes of physical activity every week, or about 30 minutes per day for most days of the week.
- Keep a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, talk to your healthcare provider about safe ways to do this. Youll see results even before you reach your ideal weight. Losing even 10% of your body weight makes a difference in your cholesterol levels.
- Reduce the effect of negative emotions. Learn healthy ways to deal with anger, stress or other negative emotions.
- Control blood sugar and blood pressure. Make sure you follow your healthcare providers instructions for blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes, and for keeping blood pressure in the healthy range.
- Atorvastatin .
- Simvastatin .
- Pitavastatin .
Low Levels Of Bad Cholesterol May Have A Downside
03 July 2019
When it comes to bad cholesterol, lower is usually better for heart disease risk. But a new study suggests it may be possible for cholesterol levels to be too low.
The study researchers found that low levels of bad cholesterol, known as LDL cholesterol, were tied to an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel bursts in the brain.
The findings suggest that, as is true with many things in nutrition, moderation and balance is key when deciding the optimal target level of LDL cholesterol, study senior author Dr. Xiang Gao, an associate professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State, said in a statement. You cant go to either extreme too high or too low.
The authors said the findings, which were published yesterday in the journal Neurology, might help further refine recommendations for healthy cholesterol levels. For example, people who are at high risk for hemorrhagic stroke, because of risk factors such as having a family history of the condition, might be better off aiming for cholesterol targets that arent quite as stringent as would otherwise be recommended.
Still, the findings will need to be confirmed by further research. Although the new study was large, involving nearly 100,000 people, all of the participants lived in a single city in China, and its unclear how well the findings apply to other populations.
People should discuss their optimal cholesterol targets with their doctor, Gao told Live Science.
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