Saturated And Unsaturated Fat
There are 2 main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Eating too many foods high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood.
Most people in the UK eat too much saturated fat.
Foods high in saturated fat include:
- meat pies
- cakes and biscuits
- foods containing coconut or palm oil
Eating foods that contain unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat can actually help reduce cholesterol levels.
Try to replace foods containing saturated fats with small amounts of foods high in unsaturated fats, such as:
- oily fish such as mackerel and salmon
- nuts such as almonds and cashews
- seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds
- vegetable oils and spreads such as rapeseed or vegetable oil, sunflower, olive, corn and walnut oils
Bile Acid Binding Resins
For example, the FDA has approved a class of drugs known as bile acid binding resins, which were the first cholesterol drugs before statins. Studies in the 1980s showed that these medications lower heart disease risk. One reason they arent often prescribed is that patients have to take a lot of them compared to statins. Bile acid binding resins come in powder form or require taking up to six pills a day. Also, they can cause gastrointestinal side effects.Weve known since the 1990s that statins benefit patients at high risk for stroke and heart disease. Today, several investigators are researching which complementary medications can be prescribed on top of statins to make them even more beneficial and protective.One of these is a drug called Ezetimibe, which on its own provides a modest reduction in cholesterol. Its also been shown recently to lower heart attack and stroke risk when taken in addition to a statin.
What Is Vldl Cholesterol A Type Of Cholesterol With A High Level Of Triglycerides
So above we explained the most common forms of cholesterol, but VLDL is one of the least commonly found forms of cholesterol that almost no one knows about. What is it, what does it do?
VLDL cholesterol is very low density lipoproteins, and they are the form of cholesterol that contains more triglycerides than any other form.
The high levels of triglycerides in the VLDL cholesterol means that your risk of coronary artery disease is much higher, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
It is just as important to control your triglycerides as it is to control all other kinds of cholesterol, as that will help you to ensure that your VLDL cholesterol stays in check.
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What Is The Ideal Cholesterol Ratio
Measuring your cholesterol levels is considered an effective way of determining your risk of heart disease and stroke. According to the American Heart Association , all adults over the age of 20 should have their cholesterol checked every four to six years.
When it comes to measuring your cholesterol, there are two things to keeIsp in mind. The first is your total cholesterol level, which is measured by a health professional via a blood test. This number is calculated from your HDL, LDL, and 20 percent of your triglycerides. Typically, you want this number to be below 200.
However, many health professionals stand by measuring your cholesterol ratio. According to the AHA, this is obtained by dividing the HDL cholesterol level into your total cholesterol.For example, if a person has a total cholesterol of 200 and an HDL cholesterol level of 50, the ratio would be 4:1, the organization writes.
The ideal level of cholesterol varies from person to person and can also be determined by genetics. The Framingham Heart Study says that a cholesterol ratio of five indicates an average heart attack risk for men and the risk doubles if the ratio reaches 9.6.
Women, meanwhile, are more likely to have higher levels of good cholesterol. A ratio of 4.4 is average heart attack risk for women and it doubles if that number reaches seven.
You Can Begin Lowering Cholesterol Naturally Today
Sound like a lot to take on? Dont be intimidated. Bringing down your high cholesterol doesnt have to mean changing your life completely. Rather, start with changing your mindset. Instead of moving away from things, youre moving toward new habits that will help you create a healthier and more enjoyable future.
Now is always the right time to start taking care of your heart health. If you need a little support, lean on friends and family. And dont forget: Your doctor is always there for you with advice, motivation and encouragement so you can reach your goals and live healthier.
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What Treatments Are Available For High Cholesterol
Treatment may include:
Addressing risk factors. Some risk factors that can be changed include lack of exercise and poor eating habits.
Cholesterol-lowering medicines. Medicines are used to lower fats in the blood, particularly LDL cholesterol. Statins are a group of medicines that can do this. The two most effective types are atorvastatin and rosuvastatin. Other medicines that lower cholesterol levels are ezetimibe and PCSK9 inhibitors.
Heres What You Need To Know:
1. Cholesterol is not bad for you. Eeeks, I said it!
FACT: Many alternative practitioners and followers of a more paleo-centered diet are well aware by now that dietary cholesterol does not significantly affect cholesterol levels in the blood or risk for heart disease, and that there is no longer any reason to avoid whole foods with naturally high levels of cholesterol.
Heres an excerpt from an article written by Chris Kresser on why cholesterol levels are not affected by fat and cholesterol-rich foods:
On any given day, we have between 1,100 and 1,700 milligrams of cholesterol in our body. 25% of that comes from our diet, and 75% is produced by the liver. Much of the cholesterol thats found in food cant be absorbed by our bodies, and most of the cholesterol in our gut was first synthesized in body cells and ended up in the gut via the liver and gall bladder. The body tightly regulates the amount of cholesterol in the blood by controlling internal production when cholesterol intake in the diet goes down, the body makes more. When cholesterol intake in the diet goes up, the body makes less.
This basically means that cholesterol in food wont give you a heart attack. So you can ditch the egg-white omelettes and start eating egg yolks again. This is especially important because all 13 essential nutrients found in eggs are in their yolks!
2. Cholesterol is crucial for hormone production & function:
One and done.
Ok, moving on
4. Cholesterol affects your brain health.
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The Tlc Program To Lower High Cholesterol
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute created the TLC Program, short for Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, for people who want to control their cholesterol. Even if you take medications to lower your cholesterol, you may want to consider the possible benefits of this program.
It has three parts: diet, exercise, and weight control. The goal: Reduce your risk of heart disease. This is not a fad diet. Itâs considered a âbalancedâ plan, and the idea is to change your habits for the long run.
This plan focuses on foods that are low in natural cholesterol and saturated fat but high in the âgood fats.â One class of these good fats is monounsaturated fats. You also get a lot of fiber in this diet.
When you follow the program, you shoot for 2 key numbers every day:
You do this to lower your LDL level. You can always talk to your doctor or dietician in more detail about how to measure how much fat and dietary cholesterol youâre taking in.
The first step is to manage dietary fats
When you follow the TLC Program, all the fat you eat in one day should not go over 35% of total calories. Try to avoid saturated fats. They can be found in things like:
- Whole milk dairy products
Trans fats can also raise cholesterol. Avoid them when you can. They are found in products such as:
- Fried foods
- Stick margarine
Some sources include:
How Does Dietary Cholesterol Affect Blood Cholesterol
The amount of cholesterol in your diet and the amount of cholesterol in your blood are very different things.
Although it may seem logical that eating cholesterol would raise blood cholesterol levels, it usually doesnt work that way.
The body tightly regulates the amount of cholesterol in the blood by controlling its production of cholesterol.
When your dietary intake of cholesterol goes down, your body makes more. When you eat greater amounts of cholesterol, your body makes less. Because of this, foods high in dietary cholesterol have very little impact on blood cholesterol levels in most people (
This is because the general increase in LDL particles typically reflects an increase in large LDL particles not small, dense LDL. In fact, people who have mainly large LDL particles have a lower risk of heart disease .
Hyperresponders also experience an increase in HDL particles, which offsets the increase in LDL by transporting excess cholesterol back to the liver for elimination from the body .
As such, while hyperresponders experience raised cholesterol levels when they increase their dietary cholesterol, the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol in these individuals stays the same and their risk of heart disease doesnt seem to go up.
Of course, there are always exceptions in nutrition, and some individuals may see adverse effects from eating more cholesterol-rich foods.
Contrary to popular belief, heart disease is not only caused by cholesterol.
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How Are Doctors Sure That Statins Really Are Safe And Beneficial
Statins have been studied more than nearly any other drug that people take. In fact, more than 170,000 people who take statins have been studied in detail and for extended periods of time. We certainly know the benefits of statins.We also understand the risks of statins. In some instances, after doctors have prescribed a drug for 10 years or more, it is taken off the market because of unforeseen, adverse side effects. Weve been prescribing statins since the 1990s for patients at high risk for stroke and heart disease. With statins, the side effects actually are well known. But how can we put that in perspective?Any focus on statin side effects needs to be counterbalanced by the fact that statins reduce peoples risk of dying from heart attack, heart disease, or stroke. Data from the 2008 JUPITER Trial suggest a 54 percent heart attack risk reduction and a 48 percent stroke risk reduction in people at risk for heart disease who used statins as preventive medicine. The data are not speculative rather, they reflect statins real potential to save lives and avoid illness.There are many varieties of brand name and generic statins available. All statins work in more or less the same way to lower bad cholesterol in patients at high risk for cardiac events.Below are a few of the common brand names you may recognize, along with their generic counterparts:
Cholesterol Myths And Facts
Cholesterol can be confusing! Learn answers to common questions about blood cholesterol.
What do your cholesterol numbers mean? Can the foods you eat change your cholesterol levels?
Learn the difference between cholesterol myth and fact. Then commit to getting your cholesterol checked this year so you know your numbers and your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Commit to getting your cholesterol checked this year so you know your numbers and your risk for heart disease and stroke.
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Which Foods Contain Cholesterol
Since every single animal cell contains cholesterol, all animal foods contain cholesterol.
Many people dont realize that all muscle meats contain about the same amount of cholesterol per serving.
Certain animal foodsliver, egg yolk, dairy fats, glandular organ meats, and brain are especially high in cholesterol. Why is that? Liver is where the body manufactures cholesterol. Egg yolks contain concentrated cholesterol because the growing baby chick needs it to build new cells. Milk fat contains lots of cholesterol because the growing baby calf needs it to build new cells. Glandular organ meats contain more cholesterol because glands make hormones, and hormones are made from cholesterol. Brain contains very high amounts of cholesterol in its myelin sheaths, which insulate its electrical circuits.
All plant foods are considered cholesterol-free. Well, it would be more accurate to say that plant foods do not contain any animal cholesterol. Plants contain their own special forms of cholesterol called phytosterols, but phytosterols are toxic to human cells, so our intestines wisely refuse to absorb them.
So, in most cases, animal foods contain some cholesterol that the body can absorb and use, and all plant foods contain cholesterol that our body cannot absorb. The only exceptions I know of to these rules are shellfish.
Eat A Variety Of Healthy Proteins
The best choices of protein are fish and seafood, legumes , nuts and seeds. You can eat smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry but limit red meat to 1-3 times a week.
Flavour foods with herbs and spices rather than salt, and avoid processed foods as these contain a lot of salt too. Salt can lead to high blood pressure, which can increase your risk of heart disease.
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Why Is Hdl Good
HDL helps keep your cardiovascular system healthy. It actually aids in the removal of LDL from the arteries.
It carries the bad cholesterol back to the liver, where its broken down and eliminated from the body.
High levels of HDL have also been shown to protect against stroke and heart attack, while low HDL has been shown to increase those risks.
According to the National Institutes of Health , HDL levels of 60 mg/dL and higher are considered protective, while those under 40 mg/dL are a risk factor for heart disease.
Who Should Consider Meds
If you fall into any of these categories, statins are likely to provide a significant benefit , so talk with your doctor about them if:
You already have plaque in your arteries.
Your LDL target will be even lower than 130 it should be at least under 100 mg/dL, and ideally under 70 mg/dL.
You have diabetes.
Anyone with diabetes over the age of 40 should take a statin, since chronically high blood sugar greatly increases your risk of developing heart disease.
Your LDL is super high .
You’re a time bomb. Statins will likely drop your levels way down into a safer zone.
Your age, blood pressure, smoking history, and cholesterol numbers point to a high chance of trouble.
Even if you dont meet the above criteria, you may still have a high risk of developing a heart attack or stroke. Docs figure out how high using calculators that estimate your 10-year risk of having heart disease. If your ten-year risk is more than 7.5%, youd likely be safer with a statin.
Your arteries are filled with calcium.
If the calculator pegs your risk in a lower range, but youre still concerned , you can get a scan to further assess your risk. A CAT scan of your heart, for example, can quantify its calcium burden, or score, and very abnormal results indicate a more urgent need to lower your cholesterol.
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Why Would The Body Make More Cholesterol Than It Needs
Now heres the problem: when people eat too many sugars and starches, especially refined and high glycemic index foods, blood insulin levels can spike. When insulin spikes, it turns on HMGCoA reductase, which tells all of the bodys cells to make more cholesterol, even if they dont need any more. This is probably the most important reason why some people have too much cholesterol in their bloodstream. Sugars and starches can raise insulin levels, which fools the body into thinking it should grow when it doesnt need to. This is how low glycemic index diets and low-carbohydrate diets normalize cholesterol patternsthese diets reduce insulin levels, which in turn lower HMG-CoA reductase activity.
Statin drugs, such as Lipitor®, which are prescribed to lower cholesterol levels, work partly by interfering with the activity of HMG-CoA reductase. If your cells happen to need more cholesterol under certain circumstances, but the statin drug is blocking this critical enzyme, your cells may not be able to make cholesterol when needed. And whats worse is that the cholesterol synthesis pathway doesnt just make cholesterol branches of this same pathway are responsible for synthesizing a wide variety of other important molecules, including: Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and Coenzyme Q. So, you may want to think twice before you artificially interfere with this pathway by taking a statin drug.
Living With High Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, you are twice as likely to develop heart disease. That is why it is important to have your cholesterol levels checked, especially if you have a family history of heart disease. Reducing your LDL bad cholesterol through good diet, exercise, and medicine can make a positive impact on your overall health.
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Get Medical Advice From Your Doctor Not The Internet
Though statins are incredibly effective, there are many different forms of heart disease. Heart disease is still the No. 1 killer of men and women in our country, and the epidemic is spreading throughout the world. As long as the battle continues, well continue researching new ways to prevent and treat heart disease.