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Does Chronic Stress Cause High Cholesterol

Supplements To Lower Cholesterol

The Link Between Stress and High Cholesterol

Some companies sell supplements that they say can lower cholesterol. Researchers have studied many of these supplements, including red yeast rice, flaxseed, and garlic. At this time, there isn’t conclusive evidence that any of them are effective in lowering cholesterol levels. Also, supplements may cause side effects and interactions with medicines. Always check with your health care provider before you take any supplements.

Reducing Stress To Prolong Life

Many scientists now recommend not focusing on reducing cholesterol as much as reducing stress. Cholesterol gained a bad rep for a long time, including good cholesterol. Its taken time for the medical world to realize that not all cholesterol is bad and there are other factors that cause many of the same risks.

One of those is the high-stress levels. Its important to keep them to a minimum so the whole body can work effectively and we can prolong out lives.

The tricky thing is finding a way to reduce stress levels. Understandably reducing stress isnt always easy and people can end up even more stressed because theyre trying to reduce it. Think about how you feel when youre struggling to sleep because of stress. You get more worked up, which releases more cortisol and more adrenaline into the body. Its harder to get to sleep, and this cycle continues until you find a way actually to reduce the stress.

Meditation and exercise are often considered the best ways to reduce stress. Yoga is a popular option since it combines the two together in many ways. You get to become one with yourself, focus on your breathing, and tone your body at the same time.

Both meditation and exercise help to release more happy hormones into your body. The right chemicals help to reduce the levels of cortisol in your body. Youll have less adrenaline keeping you awake and fewer triglycerides causing your bad cholesterol production to increase.

How Does High Cholesterol Affect My Body

Over time, high cholesterol leads to plaque buildup inside your blood vessels. This plaque buildup is called atherosclerosis. People with atherosclerosis face a higher risk of many different medical conditions. Thats because your blood vessels do important work all throughout your body. So when theres a problem in one of your blood vessels, theres a ripple effect.

You can think of your blood vessels as a complex network of pipes that keep blood flowing through your body. Plaque is like the gunk that clogs your pipes at home and slows down your shower drain. Plaque sticks to the inner walls of your blood vessels and limits how much blood can flow through.

When you have high cholesterol, you have plaque forming inside your blood vessels. The longer you go without treatment, the bigger the plaque gets. As the plaque gets bigger, your blood vessels become narrowed or blocked. Like a partly clogged drain, your blood vessels may still work for a long time. But they wont work as efficiently as they should.

High cholesterol raises your risk of other medical conditions depending on which blood vessels are clogged.

Coronary artery disease

Coronary artery disease is also called coronary heart disease or ischemic heart disease. This is what most people mean when they use the term heart disease. CAD is the most common form of heart disease in the U.S. and the leading cause of death.

Carotid artery disease

Carotid artery disease can lead to a transient ischemic attack or a stroke.

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Lifestyle Changes To Lower Cholesterol

Heart-healthy lifestyle changes that can help you lower or control your cholesterol include:

  • Heart-healthy eating. A heart-healthy eating plan limits the amount of saturated and trans fats that you eat. It recommends that you eat and drink only enough calories to stay at a healthy weight and avoid weight gain. It encourages you to choose a variety of nutritious foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Examples of eating plans that can lower your cholesterol include the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet and the DASH eating plan.
  • Weight Management. If you are overweight, losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol. This is especially important for people with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that includes high triglyceride levels, low HDL cholesterol levels, and being overweight with a large waist measurement .
  • Physical Activity. Everyone should get regular physical activity .
  • Managing stress. Research has shown that chronic stress can sometimes raise your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL cholesterol.
  • Quitting smoking.Quitting smoking can raise your HDL cholesterol. Since HDL helps to remove LDL cholesterol from your arteries, having more HDL can help to lower your LDL cholesterol.

Tips To Get A Heart Healthy Handle On Stress

High cholesterol in your blood can interfere with blood flow throughout ...

If stress increases your cholesterol and leads to heart risks, how can you go about reducing these risks? Healthy responses to stress, healthy stress relievers, and healthy living that stops stress before it starts are all steps in the right direction. Try the following stress-reducing techniques.

8 Ways to Reduce Stress

  • Justâ¦Relax â Your schedule is hectic. You have no down time. Every second is filled with one task after another. How stressful. Take a break. You may think you donât have the time, but make the time. Youâre surfing the net right now, so you do have at least a few minutes to spare. Take just seven minutes each day to stop. Sit quietly. Do some stretches. Take deep breaths. Meditate. Pray. Do whatever gets your mind to slow down so your body does too.
  • LOL â Laughter is a great tension reliever. Watch a funny movie. Listen to a comedian. Treat yourself to some smiles and laughter to release the stress and help your heart.
  • Eat sress-fighting foods â Choosing the right foods can help reduce your stress. Hello Heart offers a list of Foods That Fight Stress. Donât worry, they arenât things youâll hate. One of them is chocolate!
  • Be social â Make time for family and friends. Depending on your family and friends, this may sound stressful. Generally, though, itâs a good idea. You need to set aside the stress for a while and just kick back and have a good time.
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    Stress Changes Your Behavior

    Experiencing too much stress over a long period of time can wreak havoc on your body and put you at an elevated risk for heart disease and having a heart attack as you age. Theres more to how stress impacts your heart and your general health, though.

    When youre stressed out, youre not nearly as likely to get up and exercise in the morning. Youre going to hit the snooze button and try to catch a few more winks instead. The same goes for trying to hit the gym at the end of a 15-hour day or after a fight with your partner.

    The amount of stress youre under also plays a major role in lifestyle choices. People who are under a great deal of stress tend to choose comfort foods to eat instead of picking healthy options. Isnt it more likely that you could binge on ice cream when youre stressed out than when youre happy and in a great mood?

    Adults who consume alcohol are also susceptible to drinking more when theyre under a lot of stress. Those extra calories can impact your weight, not to mention the damage too much alcohol can do to other parts of your body like your liver.

    Individuals who smoke or who have recently quit are also more likely to light up when under stress.

    Can Cholesterol Cause Anxiety

    The relationship between cholesterol and anxiety is complex as with many of the functions of the body. Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in your blood. Natural cholesterol made by your body is created by the liver. However, cholesterol is also found in many foods that are commonly eaten including meat, fish, eggs, butter, cheese, and milk. Having good cholesterol levels is achievable, but its a balance because you need some, but not too much. Cholesterol is needed to help your brain, skin, and other organs perform their function effectively. However, too much cholesterol can clog the walls of your blood vessels and can cause problems such as a heart attack or stroke.

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    What Exactly Is Cholesterol

    Before you start looking at stress and how it affects to high cholesterol levels, you need to know more about it. What exactly is it and what does it do?

    There are two types of cholesterol: good and bad. The bad cholesterol is known as LDL cholesterol, and you shouldnt have any more than 100mg/dL of this type in your body. Good cholesterol is HDL, and you should have at least 60mg/dL. A good level of total cholesterol, according to physicians, is 200mg/dL and this can be made up of both good and bad. Considering you shouldnt have more that 100mg/dL of the bad stuff, you want at least 100mg/dL of the good stuff.

    The more good cholesterol you have, the better it is for you. Good cholesterol can keep the bad stuff at bay and under control.

    What exactly is cholesterol? Its a fatty substance that is only found in animal products. It is naturally produced by your body, but can also be added to food. The body will make more cholesterol due to trans and saturated fats being added through food.

    Both types of cholesterol will enter the arteries and build up. The good stuff builds up as a lining to the arteries, protecting them from damage. The lining is soft and makes it easier for the blood to flow through the veins.

    Diet Isnt The Only Factor

    Your Doctor Is Wrong About Cholesterol

    When people have high cholesterol, they tend to go on diets that reduce generally unhealthy ingredients like saturated fats, salt and processed sugar. This is often recommended by a doctor after a routine cholesterol check, which men and women should have regularly starting at ages 35 and 45, respectively.

    The problem is that diet doesnt always fix high cholesterol. For a lot of people, elevated cholesterol levels arent just a result of what theyre eating. Theyre also a factor of what theyre doing and the amount of stress that they deal with on a day-to-day basis.

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    Ruling Out Secondary Causes Of High Cholesterol And Triglycerides

    If your doctor rules out the other causes of raised cholesterol and triglycerides listed above, then the next step is to look for other possible explanations. These include inherited causes. Tell-tale signs of inherited high cholesterol or triglyceride include:

    • close family members with high cholesterol or high triglyceride
    • early heart disease in close family members
    • an inherited blood fat condition in close family members.

    There are over 100 genes that can affect how our bodies handle blood fats. Sometimes just one small change in a gene is enough to raise cholesterol or triglycerides to very high levels. Sometime inheriting a number of genes that each have a small effect can add up to cause problems.

    Inherited conditions that cause high cholesterol and triglycerides

    Familial Hypercholesterolaemia raised cholesterol caused by a single gene

    Familial Chylomicronaemia triglyceride levels can be extremely high, caused by a single gene

    Familial Combined Hyperlipidaemia this causes raised cholesterol and triglycerides

    Type 3 Hyperlipidaemia this also causes raised cholesterol and triglycerides

    Polygenic Hypercholesterolaemia raised cholesterol caused by a number of genes

    Other Effects Of Stress On The Heart

    Stress can also have other effects on the body, some of which can be dangerous.

    In a person with coronary heart disease , mental stress can lead to ischemic heart disease, a condition in which the heart does not receive enough blood.

    According to a study published in 2013, when stress leads to a reduction in blood supply to the heart, this can increase the risk of a heart attack.

    The researchers took measurements of heart ischemia from 310 people with stable CHD. When they faced mental stress, nearly 44 percent of the participants showed signs of heart ischemia.

    The participants were more at risk of developing mental stress-related ischemia than exercise-related ischemia, the results showed.

    The authors of the research also discussed how sex, marriage, and living arrangements could influence heart problems. They call for more research into these factors.

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    How Stress Impacts Cholesterol And 10 Ways To Reduce It Naturally

    Chronic stressand the unhealthy behaviors we often engage in to reduce itis a well-known risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, and elevated blood sugar.

    If youve been diagnosed with high cholesterol, your doctor may have set a deadline by which you need to reduce it. If your cholesterol levels remain high after that period, your doctor will likely recommend taking medication for cholesterol. The best way to lower cholesterol fast and naturally is to make important lifestyle changes, including making heart-healthy food choices, starting an exercise programand reducing your stress.

    Chronic Stress Leading To Cholesterol

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    Studies are showing that a combination of chronic stress and high cholesterol could lead to heart disease if not quickly addressed.

    For years, doctors have lectured that cutting stress has a positive impact on overall health. Now, growing research is proving that they are correct. Recurrent or daily stress can indeed affect cholesterol and eventually lead to heart disease.

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    Some Less Common Conditions

    Kidney problems

    We have two kidneys, and they’re responsible for cleaning our blood by filtering out waste products which are then removed from the body as urine.

    Chronic Kidney Disease . This is the name for a gradual decline in kidney function. People with CKD often have abnormal blood fats raised LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and lower HDL cholesterol. Heart and blood vessel diseases are common in people with CKD so statins and other cholesterol-lowering treatments are recommended if you have CKD.

    Nephrotic syndrome. This happens when our kidneys become leaky. It results in protein leaking into the urine. People with nephrotic syndrome often have raised levels of cholesterol and triglycerides too.

    Liver conditions

    The liver is a very important organ. It is where cholesterol and triglycerides are processed, made or broken down. Bile, a breakdown product of cholesterol, is made in the liver, stored in the gall bladder and released into the gut when we eat a meal. Its role is to help break down fat from food into small drops which can then be easily digested.

    Sometimes the production of bile or its release into the gut can become blocked, for example, if gall stones develop from crystallised cholesterol. Symptoms include pain, especially after a fatty meal. The medical name for this is cholestasis, where bile is unable to flow from the liver, and it can cause blood cholesterol levels in the blood to rise.

    Gout

    Many Cardiologists Say Stress Is An Underrecognized Factor Contributing To High Cholesterol

    Christopher Edginton was taking medication and trying to improve his diet when his cholesterol shot up anyway four years ago.

    His doctor suggested a new approach. He said youve got to get rid of some things youre doing, some of the stresses in your life, recalls Mr. Edginton, a professor at the University of Northern Iowa who regularly traveled internationally and had so many job titles that he had a four-sided folding business card.

    Mr. Edginton heeded the doctors advice. Now 69 years old, Mr. Edginton is down to one teaching job and some scaled-down responsibilities in professional organizations. His level of so-called bad cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein , has dropped to 62 milligrams per deciliter from 121 mg/dL in 2012.

    Christopher Edginton, an academic and professional leader in the field of parks and recreation, reduced his work-related stress after his cholesterol shot up. In his profession, he was surrounded by exercise and diet experts, he says, but I was so deeply immersed in my work I didnt pay attention to them.

    Stress will make your cholesterol go up, says Stephen Kopecky, a preventive cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who is treating Mr. Edginton. Without a doubt, that has been underrecognized.

    The study published in the journal Circulation in 1958, is nearly six decades old but Dr. Kopecky says he continues to bring it up because we can all relate to paying taxes.

    Doctors Tips for Stress

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    Reasons You Might Have High Cholesterol

    If youve ever had a blood test, its highly likely your doctor has checked your cholesterol level. Although I believe cholesterol is over rated, it is useful to know your blood level of this fat.

    Cholesterol is a very important substance in your body. In fact, every cell of your body requires cholesterol to survive. Elevated cholesterol can be a risk factor for heart disease, but it is only one of many risk factors. Rather than rushing to take a drug or natural substance that lowers cholesterol, why not consider why your cholesterol is elevated in the first place?

    How Forward Can Help You Reduce Your Stress For A Healthier Heart

    High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol – Causes and Solutions

    Forward takes a proactive and preventive approach to reducing your risk for a wide range of diseases. As your primary care provider, we help you take control of your overall health including your stressthrough a range of programs and resources. The Forward Guide to Mediation for Stress Management can help you lower your stressand your bodys physiological response to it in the future. Our doctor-led healthy heart program is open to all members and includes cholesterol, blood pressure, and stress management education and monitoring so you can achieve your wellness goals and enjoy better health moving forward.

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